“Someone once said to me, ‘ if you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.’”
For Codilla (Cody) Gapare, the edge is a place she came to live after a cancer diagnosis threw her life into a wildly new direction. On August 11, 2014, Cody was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received the diagnosis as she traveled to Manchester Met. University for an interview to study law.
“I had been working hard to get into University that I could not contemplate missing it,” she said. “I got into university but had to drop out because the treatment became too much for me.”
And while cancer treatment curbed her ability to attend law school, it didn’t not prevent her from accomplishing big entrepreneurial goals.
“Cancer has made me realize that the only thing to fear is fear itself. It is a realization that has allowed me to do things in the past 5 years that most people wouldn’t dream of doing in their lifetime,” she said.
One of the goals she tackled was running a Tough Mudder. Cody finished treatment in April 2015 and by September, she was running her first Tough Mudder, just 5 months after the conclusion of her treatment. In fact, Cody was training for her Tough Mudder before she even finished treatment.
“To be honest, I wanted to give up so many times but my friends and the other Mudders kept me going. I had also promised myself that no matter what, I was going to cross the finishing line.
When I finally crossed that finish line, it felt like ringing the bell at Christies all over again.”
For those unaware, “ringing the bell” is synonymous with being cancer free. Patients ring a physical bell to signal they have completed their radiation treatment. When Cody crossed that finish line, “I felt so alive and that is saying something for someone who had been fighting for her life months before!”
But the big goals didn’t stop after she ran Tough Mudder
While in treatment, Cody began losing her hair and realized there were no false eyelash options for those who had lost their own lashes. Despite having no experience in the industry, she designed C-Lash, a false eyelash specifically for those without lashes. In 2016, she collaborated with Eylure.
In 2018, she went back to school to study her Masters in Business Admin to better understand how to run her business. In 2019, she launched the brand in Boots stores across the UK and later launched her product in Walgreens across the United States in 2020.
Her product has won 5 awards. Cody was nominated for the Barclays Woman of the Year Award, she’s been featured on the Today Show, and she continues to grow her business across the world.
“Has the C-Lash journey been an easy one? Not by a long shot,” she said. “But it was and is absolutely worth it. Cancer took a lot out of me but it also taught me one important lesson, the only thing to truly fear is fear itself. With the right attitude, fear can be a driver and a reason to step into the battlefield because there is no courage without fear.”
And the big achievements haven’t slowed
Cody continues to push her limits and support cancer advocacy in her free time. In June 2015, less than 2 months after her treatment, she took part in two 10km Race for Life events to raise money for Cancer Research in the UK.
In August 2015, she climbed Ben Nevis to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support. In January 2017, she had her first swimming lesson and in July that same year took part in the Deva Divas Sprint Triathlon to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice in Cheshire. She came in last but she crossed that finish line.
As humans, Cody says, we have so much within ourselves if we just dig deep enough. “Allow yourself a rest and reset, but keep going.”
Secondly, asking for help is a strength not a weakness. When you ask for help 2 things will happen, you reduce the time you spend struggling alone and/or struggling in general and secondly, the people that care about you go through a healing process themselves by being allowed to be there for you.
And lastly, no one expects you to be a superhero. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Surviving a challenging situation is amazing enough without expecting yourself to do it in record time or run a marathon 2 weeks later. Push yourself but do not abuse yourself.
“Knowing what I can control and what is out of my control always puts things in perspective for me,” Cody said. “I have also started asking myself if this is an ego crisis or a real-life crisis. You will be surprised how many things we allow to bother us that become not so pertinent once we remove personal ego from the equation.”
If you are interested in learning more about C-Lash, you can purchase or research the product at www.c-lash.co.uk. You can also find Cody on LinkedIn as Cody Gapare (MBA) and on Facebook as Codilia Gapare.