Alan cared for his wife Paula throughout her cancer diagnosis. Paula sadly lost her 5 year long fight in April 2018. Married for 44 years, the couple were regular visitors to Maggie’s Manchester where together they were able to find the support they needed, when they needed it.
“Losing Paula has made me even more determined to raise awareness and fundraise for Maggie’s. I cannot praise Maggie’s Manchester enough for the love and support they have shown to both of us. I joined in their yoga sessions when I needed a break from caring duties. It was great to switch off and relax even for a short time. I know that they will continue to be there for me as I come to terms with my new life without Paula.”
Super athlete and marathon runner Tony Collier received a shock diagnosis when he was under investigation for an assumed sports injury. Tony is now a high profile campaigner for Prostate Cancer UK.
“Those two words – cancer and incurable – they were the worst words I’d ever heard in my life. My world fell apart.
My wife Tracey and I were both terrified, and we went over to Maggie’s and spoke to Sinead the Centre Head. I will never forget what she said to me – ‘Don’t think of yourself as someone dying of cancer but as someone living with cancer’ – those words turned our lives around.”
Cassie was dignosed with breast cancer at the age of 32yrs.
“As you can imagine, my diagnosis was such a massive shock. I’ve always been quite a confident person. It wasn’t too bad when I lost my hair, I was upset, but I dealt with it.
It was when my eyelashes and eyebrows fell out – that’s when it hit me how ill I was.
Looking in the mirror was hard, you don’t recognise the person looking back at you. You try your best to stay positive but when you haven’t got a single hair on your body and your skin has changed and you can’t get out of bed most days it’s a real knock to your confidence.”
Claire found out that she had Pagets disease of the nipple, a very rare form of breast cancer last June.
" I want to show other women with a breast cancer diagnosis that you can have a mastectomy WITHOUT having breast reconstruction. You can still look fabulous and feminine.
I wear nice clothes and feel confident even though I am minus a breast. There are a great range of prosthetics out there."
In February 2017, Gemma was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. The affect her treatment has had on her hair has been one of the most traumatic side-effects for Gemma.
"A makeover sounds amazing, just what I need. I used the cold cap during my treatment so I actually managed to keep a hold of some of my hair. It's thinner now and growing back curly and unruly. It used to be long and blonde, now it's shorter and darker. I want to try and gain back some of the confidence I used to have even if only for a day."
35yr old Hannah was diagnosed with granulosor cell tumor of the ovary, a very rare type of ovarian cancer after seeking fertility treatment. Hannah was a regular visitor at Maggie's along with her family during her treatment.
"I had surgery to remove my tumor together with my ovaries, appendix and some lymph nodes. I was a regular visitor to the Christie and thankfully found Maggie's. From the moment we walked into the centre we received such a warm welcome. It was such a relaxing place to be."
Cancer has affected Ian's family. Both himself and his wife have lost their mothers to cancer.
"My amazing, inspirational friend took part in the 2016 event. Having seen the impact it had on her whilst raising money for a fabulous charity made me want to get involved. I have just moved to Manchester, so I am keen to make a difference in my new community."
Lauren is currently having treatment for ovarian cancer which was diagnosed in September last year.
"I believe that I am now over the darker days. I have got through the last 8 months through a combination of positive thinking and being the strongest person I can be for myself and my family and friends, especially my 4 year old daughter. Strutting my stuff on the catwalk is the perfect way to end my cancer journey and move on with my life."
Drama teacher Nicola wants to raise awareness that women should not just rely on mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Regular checking is equally important. Nicola was diagnosed after she found a lump a few months after a clear mammogram and believes that early detection is the key to recovery.
"The first time I walked into Maggie's I cried tears of joy. This beautiful and uplifting space became my safe haven on treatment and appointment days. Losing my hair and suffering from lymphedema makes me feel far from glamorous at times so I am looking forward to my model day where I get to feel great about myself and share this experience with my fellow models."
Nicola underwent treatment for neuroblastoma at the age of 2yrs. Treatment was delayed due to misdiagnosis allowing the tumor which was located in her spine to spread to her chest. Nicola who is now 30, defeated the odds and survived but it killed the nerves in the base of her spine leaving her paralysed from the chest down.
"I have met so many lovely people at Maggie's who can relate to my story. I have never experienced support like it. I am glad to get the opportunity to show people that it doesn't matter how cancer has affected your body, you can still feel beautiful."
Robyn's mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 3yrs old. Fast forward 28yrs, Robyn herself was diagnosed with the same disease.
"I had a voluntary mastectomy with reconstruction. Seven years on I have never looked back. I think that men and women can actually be made to feel empowered by their illness ."
Stephanie wants to use this opportunity to raise awareness of breast cancer in younger women.
The 35yr old drama teacher and eco-warrior has found Maggie's to be a great support whilst she continues her treatment.
"Maggie's has been there for my husband and I. They showed me that with positivity and open communication, I will beat this"
Single mum of two Steph was diagnosed with breast cancer last May.
"I have been very honest and open with the girls so not to scare them. I also have a great support network especially my mum and my ex-husband.
I have now finished chemotherapy treatment and nearing the end of my treatment journey. I would definitely recommend Maggie's to anyone.
Cancer can make you feel differently about yourself so I want to take part in Maggie's on the Runway to improve my confidence and get a sense of control back. People need to see that you can beat cancer and that doesn't need to have a negative outcome."
Diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2016, Steve will continue to undergo treatment for the next two years.
" There is still a bit of a stigma when you tell people that you have cancer. Maggie's on the Runway shows that even though you are living with cancer, it doesn't change who you are."