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 some of their stories.
Leanne was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer 6 years ago at the age of 30. Life has changed dramatically for Leanne since her diagnosis:
“ Now I push myself to do much more. I took my daughter Leona to Glastonbury Festival, climbed Helvellyn and go on road trips with her…things I would never have contemplated before “
Leanne will be joined on the catwalk by the lovely 9 year old Leona.
“Taking part in Maggies on the Runway means so much to us both. It was a joint decision to take part as we both wanted to mark the 6 years it's been since I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. I wish we could have had a Maggie's back then, Leona was only 3 years old, I was in shock, I needed advice, how do you explain to a 3 year old about cancer and the treatment and side effects when I didn't really understand them myself ?
Now we have a Maggies in Manchester I know so many people will benefit in so many ways”
I'm Gari thirty years old and live just on the border of The Peak District.
In April 2014, I was experiencing what three different GPs were diagnosing as migraines. When I presented at A&E a nurse also decided it was a migraine - it was only when an emergency doctor thought that she’d run a “routine” CT and subsequent MRI scan on the ‘off chance’ that it was found that I had a tumour.
It took them 10 days after my emergency craniotomy to name what had been inside me - a brain tumour called ‘Medullablastoma’ - incredibly rare in adults (as if that made it any more/less traumatic) and often terminal in toddlers.
My experience at The Christie was a combination of wonderful (the staff and services), and challenging (the daily radiotherapy and regular in-patient stays). Through it all, having a space at The Christie to get away from everything and to just relax was something often craved and not always able to be found.
I’m really excited for the opening of the new Maggie’s Centre, it sounds fantastic and I think that it’s going to have a massively positive impact on people going through the terrible ordeal of Cancer. Although I received a positive “looking clear” at my last routine scan,I will definitely be a frequent user of the service and look forward to being able to spend some time in what is bound to be a magnificent place!
Not only will Michelle be appearing on one of our catwalks as a model, she will also be starring in a very unique performance together with some of the other models. We aren't ready to let the cat out the bag just quite yet, but keep visiting the Maggie's on the Runway page for updates.......
Hi I'm Michelle, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2011 at age 25, I'm from a family with no history of breast cancer and I didn't really know much about breast cancer at the time, so when I found a lump in my right breast whilst showering I never thought anything of it, I went on holiday for two weeks thinking I will go to my GP when I return. Whilst on holiday the lump grew and in two weeks the shooting pain was unbearable and the lump had grown.
After that it was all a bit of a whirlwind when I returned, from my GP, to hospitals before I knew it I was told I had breast cancer and my only option was to have a mastectomy.
Being 25 and having to come to terms with living with one breast was the hardest part for me.
I went through the motions of chemotherapy, herceptin and radiotherapy and with two young children it definitely took its toll on me physically and emotionally.
That's why I started making products and sharing my story on social media, I had never met anyone who had gone through this whole breast cancer experience before so I struggled to find someone who could tell me exactly what to expect, So that's the main reason I am so honest with my approach to breast cancer I share the reality not just the pink ribbons and fluffy stuff.
That's why I am honoured to support Maggie's from my personal experience a Maggie's Centre is exactly what Manchester needs.
Nearly 5 years on I might still be going through reconstruction surgery and I have more scars than I know what to do with but its important for me to know I've had worst days and I live everyday by challenging myself and raising awareness about breast cancer. When I walk down the catwalk, I will do it with pride knowing I can achieve anything I put my mind to,
You have one life you just have to live it and love it xxx
It's not often you come across someone as brave and inspirational as Berni He was diagnosed last year with ethmoid cancer. Since then Bernard has been on a medical and surgical rollercoaster ride. Despite all this, Bernard remains one of the most inspirational and positive guys you will ever have the pleasure to meet. Bernard is looking forward to strutting his stuff on the Concorde Catwalk on June 11th. Here is his story....
"I have been treated for a very rare form of facial cancer affecting the ethmoid bone and sinus on the left hand side of my face. The diagnosis and treatment of my condition was delayed for a year as my local G.P.`s considered the symptoms I was experiencing were caused by other factors (blocked sinus, polyps, blocked tear duct, general infection etc.) and treated me accordingly with antibiotics, steroid sprays etc. It was only after suspecting pollips were causing my watery eye and, by now, double vision, that a scan and biopsy was done, and my cancerous condition confirmed in January 2015. In March they removed my left eye and top pallette at M.R.I. in an 18 hour op, where a piece of my hip bone was used to support the facial and mouth tissue that had been removed during surgery. Two weeks in I.C.U followed along with days spent on the general ward. The initial op had also involved a skin graft to cover the left orbit, but this failed to take, as did two subsequent grafts to cover the `void` left. These later skin grafts are thought to have failed as a result of radiation damage surrounding the affected tissues following a 30 day course of treatment at The Christie. One year on and 4 ops later I now have no facial nerve on my left side, have a plate across the remains of my top pallette (which collapsed following the radiation, causing my mouth and right nostril to now be connected to each other directly with awkward eating/swallowing/speaking resulting from it). I have experienced severe hearing loss and radiation damage to my remaining eye, as well as severe throat pain. In an attempt to finally cover the left orbit with `good skin` that has not been affected by the radiotherapy I have a skin expander inserted under my scalp on the right forehead side, which gets `pumped up` with silicone every two weeks to create an expanse of skin that will eventually be grafted over the left socket and bind successfully with the surrounding skin. All through this my family and friends have been there at every turn, good or bad, and I would be at a loss without their support. Fortunately I am old enough not to be too `affected` by the changes in my experience but feel deeply for anyone much younger in life suffering from any facial disfigurement and trying to cope with all the sudden changes to your life that result from it.
My advice to anyone diagnosed with this disease is to face it square on, and if at all possible, laugh in its face. Remain positive at ALL times and always look to the future. Never look back. The future is yours. Always!! "
"On April 3rd 2013 I was told I had Womb Cancer. I had been admitted into hosptial following a really bad hemorrhage. I dont really remember a great deal from bleeding but I remember blood all over the floor and choking on my own sick. Well being told I had cancer kicked me into a whirlwind, I later went on to have a total hystercomty and further treatment. I subsequently had my thryoid removed and following a bit of a fight I was told I carry the PTEN gene, Cowdens syndrome. 1 in 200,000 carry the gene, no one in my family have it or have had cancer. As it stands i'm the youngest for womb cancer sadly. I'm due to have a double risk reducing mastectomy later in the year due to high risk of breast cancer. I'm currently suffering with bad bones and the going through the menopause but i'm still here.
I now work for the ambulance service and also campaign for the lowering the age for smear testing for women from 25yrs. I am also trying to raise awareness of PTEN gene. I'm doing this with the support of the Peach Ladies and I'm doing it for them "
Representing the guys on the catwalk and hoping to give David Gandy a run for his money is Christian.
"I was first diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma cancer when I was 3 and then relapsed when I was 9. My parents were only young and didn't really know how to handle the situation. However, through thick and thin it made closer as a family, a silver lining. I had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery to get rid of the tumor, thankfully all successful. Fighting cancer has made me a stronger and more well rounded person, I don't take life for granted and to live every day to the full. I also never ever take life to seriously either. I try not to let what I have been through affect my day to day life, why should it?
Maggie's on the Runway means a lot to me, as well as helping to improve the models' body confidence we can all help raise awareness. Having a centre like Maggie's in Manchester will mean that there is always help at hand when you need it most and you never have to fight alone."
My name is Catherine and I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 4th of April 2014 at aged 28. I had just recently got a new job after spending 2 years travelling and was due to go on a hen do that afternoon. My husband and I were both looking forward to settling into our new lives but instead I was plunged into the world of hospital appointments that seem to very quickly take over your life at the beginning of a cancer diagnosis. Scans revealed 2 large tumours and 4 lymph nodes affected but no spread elsewhere that could be seen. I started chemotherapy very quickly after diagnosis and although I tried the cold cap it didn't work and I lost my hair. After chemotherapy I had a single mastectomy and full node clearance which revealed I had had a complete response to chemo. I was on Herceptin for a year and finished that in summer 2015. On 3/02/16 I had a risk reducing mastectomy and double DIEP reconstruction and I am recovering well from that. In terms of body image this has helped massively as having one boob for a year and a half was not great especially when I was also bald for a proportion of that time. It has affected me in so many ways, I'm on tamoxifen for 10 years so if I want to have children I would have to come of it. I work as a chemistry teacher and I don't think my school could have been any more supportive, however I was at the stage in my career where I was looking at promotions so that's gone out the window. I have been very lucky to have an incredibly supportive family throughout and I don't think I could have done all this without them. This is the main reason I am supporting maggies. I feel my family especially my 24 year old sister Emma would have benefited massively from a place like Maggie's.
Sara Jane Etchells
I am Sara Jane and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since my diagnosis my 10 year old daughter Lola & I have been even closer. Lola has a natural love of hairstyling for such a young age and my cancer wigs played a part in this at the beginning.
Lola helps raise money for charity since appearing in our home video whilst shaving my hair.
Taking part in Maggie's on the Runway is such a valuable & lovely way of doing something together that's fun whilst she has an understanding of the devastation a cancer diagnosis can have on children & families and raising essential funds at the same time.
My name is Kirsty and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. My daughter had just celebrated her 1st birthday and my son was 4 when I found a lump. I wasn't too worried at first I just thought because I'd not long had a baby, lumpy boobs were normal. I went to the Dr's and was rushed through for an appointment, it all seemed to happen so fast. Being told that you have cancer is something you can't really describe. I didn't know what to do, where to go or what was going to happen. The only overwhelming feeling I remember was that I wasn't going to see my children grow up or do any of the things I'd planned to do. I feel very lucky to have had lots of support from my family and friends but a Maggie's centre would have provided me with the tools I needed to deal with it myself first.
I found chemo very difficult and seemed to pick up lots of infections , having chemo, a baby and a 4 year old was no fun... at all! But slowly I have put myself back together. It's 5 years now since diagnosis and I was there when both children started school, my partner proposed, we got married and have been abroad as a family! I don't want to climb mountains or change my life after cancer I just want to get back to my normal life and I am grateful for that everyday.
Helania has Costello Syndrome which is a rare genetic life limiting condition. Around 500-550 people worldwide have been diagnosed with this condition.
Helania has also been treated for cancer, not once, but twice. At the age of 2 ½ she was diagnosed with Rhabdomyasarcoma, a soft muscle tumor on her abdomen. Following treatment it sadly returned eighteen months later and Helania was forced to have a “life or death” 10 hour operation to remove the tumor.
In addition this brave young lady has had to undergo countless operations including, brain surgery, open heart surgery and an operation to correct her spine.. In her short life Helania has been through and has overcome much more than most people would do in a lifetime.
Helania’s mum Cath says “ Helania is a little dynamo, she has made her dad and I better people. It’s a hard journey, we have no regrets in fact we would do it all again if we had to..”
Cath and her husband Colin have remarkably also had the time set up and run the UK branch of Costello Children which supports families who have children with this condition as well as increasing awareness.
Cath and Colin are very proud of what Helania has achieved so far. She attends college , enjoys ballroom dancing and has successfully completed her bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. She is now close to completion of the silver stage with ambitions to achieve gold. Nothing seems to get in this plucky young lady’s way, as most things can be achievable with a few adaptations”
Helania has also been invited to Downing St, met her heroine the late Whitney Houston and has been the recipient of several bravery awards including; Child of Courage, Child of Achievement and Cerebra’s Bravest Award.
Cath says “Most fashion shows are about being size zero and drop dead gorgeous. Helania doesn’t have any perception of body image, When people stare at her, she just smiles and says hello and it works wonders”
At Maggie;’s on the Runway we are sure that Helania will melt the hearts of the audience and for mum Cath, as a special treat, she will be having a special makeover and hitting the catwalk too!
But the last word goes to Helania herself she says “It’s so nice that they asked me!”
For more information on Costello syndrome please visit
I'm Shelley, in April 2014, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I went to the GP with a lump I had found in the shower, I expected them to tell me I was too young for it to be anything serious, but I was wrong. I had a single mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in May 2014 using my back muscle to create a new breast. I then had 6 sessions of chemotherapy, 18 rounds of Herceptin & will be taking an oestrogen blocking medication called Tamoxifen for the next 5-10years.
I am very passionate about raising awareness about the importance of self checking & knowing your own body & getting checked out if something doesn't feel right. Early diagnosis saved my life & I'm so thankful for that. I have been a boobette for the charity CoppaFeel! for the past 18months & as a volunteer, we go to schools, colleges, workplaces to give free talks all about boobs!!
I would have loved to have a Maggie's centre to visit whilst I was going through treatment, both for me to have somewhere to chat with others sharing the same experiences & also for my family. After visiting the beautiful new centre at The Christie, I'm sure it will provide comfort & relaxation to many patients & their loved ones.
Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I would have never considered being a model in a fashion show, but I am learning to face my fears & say yes to new opportunities & experiences.
Just before I turned 40, I asked my GP if he thought it was a good idea to have early mammograms because breast cancer ran in my mums side of the family . He thought this was a good idea and I'm so glad I asked because it might just have saved my life.
At the age of 41 , in July 2012, a mammogram detected I had stage 3 lobular invasive breast cancer in my right breast. Because of my young age and high risk of cancer coming back I was advised to have a double mastectomy with a diep reconstruction. This happened in September 2012 . Since then I've been on tamoxifen and I've been enjoying every single day of my life with my family and friends.
If there was a maggies centre available when I was diagnosed it would have been amazing! Hospitals are so clinical and rather frightening with no comfortable chairs . You have the consultant for a set period and of course you forget to ask all the questions you want because you are so frightened ! Maggie's Centres are wonderful places!