'Quake makeover' mends broken heart

TRANSFORMED: Quinn shows off her new look.
TRANSFORMED: Quinn shows off her new look.

Shirley Quinn is mending her broken heart with the help of a $1000 "earthquake makeover".

The Woolston resident is one of 20 Christchurch women given a makeover because they were affected by earthquakes or contributed to the recovery effort.

After the February 2011 quake, Quinn found herself suffering from stress cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome.

There has been a spike in the syndrome, which is brought on by intense emotional stress, since the quakes.

Quinn now has a rare heart condition.

"Of all the people at work and the people I know, I'm the least affected [by the quakes]. I'm the most solid," she said.

"I hadn't screamed and cried and jumped up and down, so I think everyone was just absolutely surprised that it happened to me."

She returned from holiday last year to receive a note saying she had been nominated for the makeover by a friend from her workplace, St George's Hospital.

She said she was "gobsmacked" by the gesture.

"I just didn't know anything about it. You don't expect anything like that," she said.

The makeover programme was organised by Jude Kahui at Westfield Riccarton clothes store Blue Illusion.

"We decided that we needed to help ladies during the earthquakes who have either done something great . . . or somebody who needs help," she said.

Kahui got together with Westfield and mall shops Rodney Wayne, Life Pharmacy, All About You and Coffee Culture to provide a makeover package for the women.

Of the 51 nominations received, 20 will receive $1000 makeovers, and the other 31 will get a $500 Blue Illusion wardrobe.

The Press