On 11th June 2016 around 50 models each living with cancer strutted their stuff on the Concorde catwalk in aid of Maggie's.
Here are their stories.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and had a double mastectomy with reconstruction done at the same time. Then in 2014 was diagnosed with T cell Lymphoma and I've had chemo, stem cell transplant and radiotherapy.
I was always worried about losing my hair but I actually loved how I looked after I had my head shaved and it has given me added confidence. My journey has taught me to live life to the full as you don't know what round the corner.
I have always had a positive attitude to it all. My gorgeous son keeps me strong and I have a fantastic support network from my friends and family.
I can't wait for June 11th when I'll be strutting my stuff down the catwalk with Harry and raising funds for Maggie's.
I wish Maggie's had been open whilst I was going through all my treatment as it is a wonderful place, welcoming, light, airy and comforting.
"Smile...you've got Cancer!"
Oh... it's me! That was my first thought when I was diagnosed 7 years ago.
Hi my name is Pippa and I'm a Mouth Cancer survivor!
Back then I didn't know anyone with Cancer even though the statistics said 1 in 4 people would have some variation of it. Turned out it was me! My consultant, Mr Woodwards was surprised too. I was young (37), female and a non-smoker so I didn't fit his usual patient profile. Between me and you, I think I made a nice change! However, two operations, radio therapy and 7 years down the line I'm happily Cancer free and still have my smile!
I have a new found lust for life since my brush with Cancer. I've been on 4 different TV shows including Total Wipeout! I've also fulfilled a long held ambition to perform on stage. Also, I packed in my job as a Primary Teacher and became a Foster Carer, one of the best decisions of my life! Best of all, I married my partner of 12 years, Helen who is also modelling for Maggie's today. During her journey through Breast Cancer, Helen and I have become a key part of the Link4Pink appeal. Together with our team have raised over £16K for the Victoria Breast Care Unit at Royal Oldham Hospital.
It's a privilege to be part of Maggie's on the Runway. We think it's a wonderful place and are sure many people will benefit from it in years to come.
So please look after your own smile...it's precious.
Hi, I'm Janice, my diagnosis was on 24th February 2015 following my surgery on 2nd February 2015 to remove a suspicious cyst off my ovary.
I had previously worked in operating theatre at The Christie and kind of knew the result before I was told. It was Stage 2, Grade 3 aggressive Epithelial Serous Ovarian Carcinoma. It had spread microscopic onto my peritoneal wall. I thought I was prepared for the bad news but when I heard those words CANCER, I felt instantly like my heart had stopped and I couldn't breathe and my whole world had just collapsed beyond what was normal.
My husband Phil and I were taken to a room to talk it through with the specialist nurse and it was then I broke down crying. All I could think about was my family, what happens if I die. You have all these fears and emotions running round in your head that you feel alone and like you have messed up bad. All I heard at appointments was the bad words not the good so I was pleased my husband paid attention to it all as I was numb for the first weeks after. My family were amazingly supportive and it was hard for them to however, I handled Chemotherapy like it never touched me so that helped them I think. Having Maggie’s is so amazing because there was nowhere to go and waiting around was hard. The Centre is there for us all, patients and families and the support there is just what's needed. Its beautiful and relaxing so being there will help so many people. I am very proud to be a model and speaker for Maggie’s and feel that this is a positive outcome of my illness to help others.
When I was first diagnosed seventeen years ago with Leiomyosarcoma a rare cancer. I felt totally isolated and scared of what the future might hold. There were several re-occurrences and numerous bouts of surgery over the years, before the cancer metastesized to both lungs. My terminal diagnosis has only made me more determined to live my life to the full.
I truly value the support I have had from superb surgeons, a dedicated oncologist, a wonderful spiritual healer and loyal, loving family and friends. They all gave me their full support even when I made the difficult decision not continue with more traditional forms of treatment, choosing a more holistic approach to my illness. My positivity helps me to feel invigorated and energised and I am determined to live life to the full. It is the Maggie’s Centres’ philosophy that truly sums me up; ‘Don’t lose the joy of living in the fear of dying’.
So I try to get up every morning with a smile on my face, treating every day as an opportunity to do something special.
I'm Laura and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015 but after 6 months of chemo and radiotherapy, I can now celebrate being cancer free.The new Maggie's Centre will be a huge asset to The Christie Hospital. Early on in my treatment when I was given some unexpected bad news my husband Chris and I would have benefited from having somewhere to go and digest the news and to chat away from the public eye.
I am proud to be taking part in the fashion show as it will be great fun and help raise vital funds for a wonderful charity.
"I was first diagnosed with rectal Cancer in March 2014 at the age of 33. Initially I underwent surgery to have a colostomy formed, 5 weeks of chemo/radiotherapy and then surgery to remove the tumour and the area where it was growing and i needed some reconstructive work. By Nov 2014 I received the news that I was in remission and returned to my job as Airline Cabin Crew.
2015 passed smoothly and I enjoyed flying the world again on both short haul and long haul routes.
In Jan 2016 after routine scans I was given the news that a tumour was re-growing in the same area and that I would need chemotherapy treatment. I made the decision to try and carry on flying during my treatment this time. This lot of chemo has been challenging and has left me with a very sore, red spotty rash on my face, head, chest and back and has made me feel extremely self conscious so when I saw a feature asking for cancer patients to be models for Maggie’s on the Runway I was intrigued. I was drawn to the post as it mentioned the amazing Christie hospital which is now like my 2nd home and the talk of a fundraising fashion show at Concorde with my love of aircraft had me extremely excited! The thought of being able to give something back made me want to apply. After more research into Maggie’s, I soon realised what an amazing charity it is and how wonderful and beneficial Maggie’s Centres are and I told myself I had to be a part of this and applied! Days spent in the hospital can be long and gruelling not only for patients but also for those that go along to support them. It can become crowded and chaotic. Sometimes there is nowhere else to go and you crave just a change of scenery, a bit of fresh air. Knowing that the new Maggie’s Centre at the Christie is open and available for use and provides those things, in such an amazing setting, is just fantastic. I am so proud to have been selected to be a Maggie’s model and to be a part of Maggie’s on the Runway as I hope we can help raise as much money as possible to help this amazing new facility and improve time spent at the hospital for other Christie patients"
I am Karole and have had treatment for breast Cancer. Maggie's will make a massive difference. The support you get from Christie's is fantastic, but Maggie's is different, it's not a hospital, it's informal you can nip in for a chat yourself, take family that need support for a chat, or attend the planned events. I wish Maggie's had been there whilst I was going through radiotherapy, so that I could have gone for a chill out 1/2 hour after and a cuppa tea 😃Simply to be able to sit and talk to others going through the same as you - what a blessing Maggie's will be, and the centre being just over the road means no extra travelling!
I am taking part in Maggies on the Runway for myself to, I hope, help me get the confidence back that I've lost as well as to meet others like me, who are going through the same life changing journey I've been through. Most of all I want to help raise funds to help Maggies run from day to day, if I can raise a small amount to buy tea bags, coffee and milk for a month , I've helped a wonderful place keep going x
I'm Jinnett and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015 at the age of 43 after finding a lump in my left breast whilst taking a shower. I had a lumpectomy to remove two lumps and an ancillary lymph node clearance. It was discovered that I had two types of cancer, ductal and lobular cancer both of which were in the same breast. I have been determined that I would have a positive attitude throughout my treatment and attended each chemotherapy session wearing different crazy and colourful wigs. This was to brighten things up a bit and to put a smile on people’s faces. I am also passionate about raising awareness about knowing your own body and early detection of cancer is important. I have also taken part in talks about cancer at work as well as writing an article for a work related newsletter. I have also created a Facebook blog “one lump or two”, which has given me a great deal of support throughout this time.
Hi I'm Diane and I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I have two daughters who were aged 8 and 11 at the time and my first thought was that I was going to die and leave them. The team around me were very supportive but they have so many patients to see. It would have helped me and my husband to have had a place like Maggie's to go to. To be able to talk to people about how you explain to children who are old enough to know the word 'cancer' and the impact that word has when it applies to somebody you love. To be able to process the information at a time when everything seems surreal, you can't think clearly and your emotions constantly swing between hope to fear.
Thankfully, following a mastectomy and reconstruction I am a year on with my recovery and enjoying my life with my wonderful family and friends, and back at work.
I'm looking forward to being a model for Maggie's on the Runway, it's a great privilege to be given the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for something so important to so many. It's lovely to be part of such a beautiful group sending a positive message out there and showing everybody that we are smiling and living life to the full as much as we can.
Hi, My name is Sandra and I was 7 years old when I first learnt of cancer, watching my sister Deborah suffer in pain and eventually die at home at the tender age of 13…………..So many flowers…. So many tears! I didn’t really understand at the time but surely felt the devastating emotional affect Deborah’s death had on my parents, family and community as a whole.
Forty Three (43) years later, as I lay in bed at Ward 44 of the Haematology and Bone Marrow Department of Manchester Royal Infirmary, I have good reason and the time to reflect on my life. Quite unexpectedly, In February 2016 after a routine blood test due to a small lump in my neck, I was diagnosed as having Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
You can never be prepared for a cancer diagnosis, I think I went into shock initially, followed by confusion and uncertainty, but I am now gradually coming to terms with my condition. Having access to clear and reliable information, made available from organisations like Cancer Research, Macmillan Trust and Leukaemia Care, has helped me develop greater understanding of blood cancers and the treatment options now available. This, along with the supportive care of the specialist consultant team and nurses at the hospital, has helped me a great deal to keep a strong and positive outlook.
Everything has moved really quickly since February, and I’ve already completed my second cycle of intense chemotherapy, with further chemo and a possible stem cell transplant on the horizon.
As a newly diagnosed cancer patient, your days are sometimes filled with insecurities and emotional ups and downs as you journey through the various stages of your treatment. The physical changes as a result of chemo can also cause you to lose your sense of self. I had to tell myself to be brave, hold onto my faith, and believe in my ability to face this head on.
Every day I see the pain in my family members’ eyes. They show a brave face whilst putting on the protective gown and gloves to enter my hospital room, unable to hug and kiss me as we usually do as a family. This is due to a risk of infection as a result of my low immune system. Sandra, their daughter, sister, aunty, at the peak of her career in international development, who travelled to disadvantaged rural communities, in Africa, implementing projects to impact change in the lives of the needy…………..whose own life has now changed significantly.
I am getting involved in the Maggies on the Runway Fashion Show in remembrance of my dear sister Deborah and to bring together my family and friends who have crossed this milestone once before. But this time, we all have hope and faith due to the huge leap in cancer research over the past fifty years, celebrating the lifesaving treatments available today which is evident in the 50 Runway Models we will be cheering on.
I’m also getting involved to support the fundraising activities for the Maggies Centre, and because I am inspired by the life stories and strength of my fellow Maggie’s models, giving me the strength and courage to face my own cancer journey.
The New Maggie’s Centre is good for Manchester because it provides cancer patients with a much needed serene, therapeutic and beautifully manicured garden environment for relaxation and sensitive discussions, access to support services and a place to ‘ enjoy living’ with family and friends.
My journey started back in June 2011. I found a lump above my left breast. I was 45 years old.
I was already on an annual screening programme and had had a mammogram 4 weeks prior which had shown no abnormalities. I did have a family history, my mum was diagnosed when she was 45 with breast cancer but unfortunately lost her battle 4 years later.
My GP referred me to a one stop clinic and I was seen within 4 days and given the devastating news that I had grade 3 aggressive cancer. It was like history repeating itself. The following week I had a lumpectomy followed by 6 sessions of chemo and 19 lots of radiotherapy.
I was determined to stay positive and strong for all my family, I was very open and happy to discuss everything. I didn't want to be a closed book like my mum. After all my treatment I decided I wanted to give something back and signed up for a 400km bike ride through Cuba over 5 days. I trained like a professional I wanted to prove to myself I was well again.
I rode with 104 other ladies and we raised over £300k. I have since continued fund raising for various Charity's.
In April last year I felt unwell and had a routine appointment with my oncologist. After blood tests and a CT scan I was told that I had secondary cancer in my liver. 12 months on I am still on chemotherapy and still fund raising.
Maggies is my new project. It's such an amazing place. It's tranquil, beautiful and a place for everyone. I only wish something like this had been around for my Mum as she never new what to say and it has been so hard for myself, my dad, brother and sister but now I know that their is something their for all my family and friends and me.
For one young lady Maggie’s on the Runway will be particularly poignant. Rachael Sherwin is the sister of the beautiful Rebecca Briggs who gained her angel wings in February this year.
Rebecca"Becky" had Ewing's Sarcoma which is predominatley a very rare bone cancer but can also occur in soft tissue, in fact less than 100 cases of this type of cancer have been documented worldwide . Sadly it spread to Becky's kidneys and after a very courageous battle she passed away on 26th February 2016.
Throughout the duration of her illness, Becky was supported by Teenage Cancer Trust and through this involvement met Margo Cornish, who duly signed this glamourous chick up for her Runway on the Runway fashion show in 2015. Becky, however wasn't able to take part as her illness got in the way. Still keen to get involved, Becky was invited to model for Maggie's but again this was not to be.
As a tribute to, and in memory of Becky, sister Rachael will be taking to the catwalk at Maggie's on the Runway cheered on by mum Paula, Dad Dave and her family and friends. Significantly, Rachael will be wearing a pair of Becky's shoes.
Rachael who is a mum to 1 year old Bradley says " After all the fight, strength and courage I lost my beautiful, bossy and glamourous little sister. Her fight has shown me what it truly means to be selfless, to be calm and strong, and to never give up hope. This is why I am truly honoured to be walking the catwalk in Becky’s shoes “
Margo Cornish says " I am sure Becky will be looking down and cheering Rachael on from the big catwalk in the sky."
You can read more about Rachael and Beck's story here "In My Sister's Shoes."