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.
Hi, My name is Anneela Saleem.I am a GP and a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with right sided breast cancer in 2012. I was 42 years old and my sons were just 3 and 5 years old. I had just met my husband to be four months prior to finding 2 lumps. We were just about to go on our first family holiday with his two children aged 7 and 9 years. I wasn’t actually too worried about the lumps but managed to get seen at the breast clinic and have a scan, a mammogram and a biopsy before we went away. We didn’t let it hang over us too much on holiday since I was sure the results would be normal. When we returned I got the news I just didn’t expect. That I had cancer! It was only 3 weeks before I had a mastectomy and reconstruction; this was followed by months of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. A year after this I had a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction.
It was such a long time to be faced with treatment and life revolved around hospital appointments. I tried to push on but often this left me feeling more drained, I was desperate to ‘get back to normal’. I learnt the hard way that this is not the best approach. During my treatment and afterwards I did a lot of research to find ways to help myself. When it came to the facts and figures it was fairly straightforward to find the information I needed. However, as a doctor I knew that I needed to adopt a more holistic approach to my recovery. Then one day I had a Eureka moment, I decided to write a book! A book to help other breast cancer survivors to help them deal with the side effects of treatment, fatigue, their emotions and lots of nutritional advice too. If you are interested there is more about ‘Moving on ABC After Breast Cancer’, on my website www.afterbreastcancer.com.
Going through a cancer diagnosis and its treatment really is a rollercoaster of a ride but you certainly can come out of it stronger. I don’t think you necessarily come out as a completely different person but perhaps tweaked in ways. I am proud of what I have achieved and want to show other people that you can beat cancer and I want to celebrate the fact that Manchester is getting a Maggie's Centre. I believe that Maggie's will be such an incredible place, a sanctuary, somewhere to go to both during and after treatment finishes. Maggie's will provide emotional guidance and the social support that is so essential after such a life-changing diagnosis. Luckily, nowadays, when breast cancer is caught early then it is very treatable. This is great news but we do need to do more to support people during a cancer diagnosis and to help those ‘Living With and Beyond’ Cancer. This is what Maggie's provides, somewhere safe and relaxed where you can be yourself and get support from others that understand.
I'm Suzanne Goodwin and my life changed on Friday 22nd March 2013 when I was diagnosed with Stage 4B Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 42 and it was aggressive. To say that you have fallen into a black hole is an understatement... both myself and my husband Geoff were devastated 'I had Cancer'...the first thing I said to Geoff was "I'm sorry", you feel as if it is your fault.
Cancer isn't just a personal illness, it's a family illness, it affects us all, everyone in the family. I had no choice, I had to be strong. I know that some of my family struggled. If we had a Maggie's Centre then, I think that this would have helped us all enormously. We needed somewhere to go to ask advice, someone to talk to, but we had nowhere. Maggie's is open to everyone, not just the person with cancer which is fantastic.
Why am I modelling for Maggie's? It is such a great cause and something that has been missing from the Christie, somewhere you won't feel any pressure and somewhere to go to gather your thoughts.
When I was diagnosed with Grade 2 breast Cancer I was shocked to say the least, I was fit and healthy and couldn't understand what had happened! I went into autopilot and decided that I needed to have a double mastectomy (which was done in two stages - left breast first then right some 10 months later) followed by 6 months of Chemo, during which I tried to keep exercising and eat healthy, sometimes I struggled and had to rest which for someone who is always 100 miles an hour was a culture shock. Losing my hair wasn't a big deal I quite liked the idea of a wig and starting again with my hairstyle, but losing my long thick eyelashes was hard. I always believe that something good comes out of bad and for me that was learning to slow down and take things easy as well as meeting my friend Julie who had been through breast cancer 2 years ago. We help each other and have become extremely close - I can't imagine not having her in my life. Maggie's is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with or touched by Cancer, providing a haven of support, understanding, and so much more. In tranquil settings you instantly feel calm and relaxed. I'm hoping that anyone that has been touched by Cancer will take advantage of this amazing unit, we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep. That's why I'm so keen to raise awareness and have put myself up for strutting down the catwalk to help raise funds - I'm so nervous - but hoping that it will help me regain my confidence, and believe 11th June will be a great day.
I'm Lisa and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Oct 2014 at the age of 40. I had the lump for few months and left it as I never thought for one moment I had Cancer. I was on my own when I was told it was 'the dreaded C', I got my clothes on and ran out of hospital I fell apart.
The hardest part was to tell my Mum and sister I had Cancer. My Cancer was hormonal and contained so I needed lumpectomy and some lymph-nodes taken and radiation. Following the operation, it wasn't good news, I had to have lymph-nodes removed as my cancer had spread so the next step for me was chemo. I have now completed 10 rounds of chemo and 20 radiotherapy. I was very poorly this time last year I also had a Hickman line fitted which was a nightmare.
I finished all active treatment July 2015 and I rang the bell at Christie's - it was amazing feeling to be alive. I'm slowly rebuilding my life and now feel like a new person. Maggie's on the Runway will give me the opportunity to show people there is life after Cancer. Cancer has made me look at life differently and makes me realise just how lucky I am to be here writing this. I have met so many ladies in the same position as l myself on this journey - we have lots meet ups and just enjoy life and focus on the good things.
I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 29 and when my daughter was only 4 months old. I had ended up in A&E as my symptoms had gotten so bad and after a few days in hospital was rushed in for emergency surgery as a tumour had been found following a CT scan. Following my surgery I had 6 months of chemotherapy but was devastated to be told that my cancer had spread to my ovaries and more surgery was required. In all I have had three major operations but at the moment things are looking good and I'm positive about the future and being able to see my daughter grow up. As a result of my operations I have a permanent Ileostomy which means I wear a bag on my tummy to collect my poop. I wanted to be a part of Maggie's on the runway to raise awareness of the fact that bowel cancer can affect young people too, but also to fight the stigma around Ostomies. Living with a poo bag doesn't mean you can't feel beautiful ever again.
I'm Adam, A two time cancer survivor from Salford.
Yes, Adam 2 - Cancer 0.
After 10 months remission I relapsed in Aug/Sept 2015.
The past few years have been horrendous but I have not let this nasty disease beat me.
Some people have referred to me as a mutant and I have questioned that myself lol.
During Christmas and New Year I was in hospital in isolation having chemo and a bone marrow transplant.
Along with my dads murder in 2006 this was the hardest thing in my life.
I still haven't really accepted everything hence my involvement with this event and Maggies in the future.
But most importantly for this bio is to let you know that as of May 11th I have again been given the all clear.
If I can give something back to help and support this amazing cause then I'm definitely in.
I'm very proud of me, myself and I
I was diagnosed with breast cancer last June, at 27 it wasn't something you'd expect to happen! From the beginning I decided not to let cancer take over my life and to try my best to stay positive and keep going on as normal as possible. The day after diagnosis I flew to Ibiza as planned with the girls, this set a precedent that you can still have fun with a cancer diagnosis! I had surgery to remove the lump then went on to have chemo and radiotherapy, throughout which I was determined to carry on at university where I have just completed my second year. It wasn't easy but I'm so glad and proud that I did it.
I am so lucky for the support I have received from my friends, from encouraging me to go out bald before my hair fell out, in fact I had it all cut off to donate to the Little Princess Trust and some of my friends supported me and donated theirs too. I also had my chemo buddies bringing me LOADS of flowers and food, also my family who have been by my side and looked after the children and ultimately Ben, my husband and Tom and Leila, my children who have looked after me and been my light. I am aware what a lonely time this can be, which is where Maggies comes in and is going to be such a welcome retreat for patients at the Christie.
I am constantly challenging myself which is partly why I'm taking part Maggie's on the run way, it's also because Maggie's is desperately needed in Manchester, in between appointments to have somewhere to escape to really is fantastic. After all, nobody enjoys sitting in the cattle market, clinical atmosphere of the hospital which can become your second home for several months or more.
In October 2013, at the age of 45, a diagnosis of Stage 3 Breast Cancer in my right breast blew my world apart. I remember the look on the consultants face and only hearing the words CANCER, MASTECTOMY, CHEMO, RADIOTHERAPY, the rest is a blur!
Myself and my husband Scott were in total shock and cried all the way home.
It's true when people say treatment is a year out of your life but I got through it with the love and support of my amazing Husband, Family and close friends.
It was a grueling year of surgery and treatment and losing my hair was utterly devastating for me, I lost all my self confidence and felt totally out of control, my life was following a simple, happy path and that control had now been taken away, I had stopped seeing myself as immortal !
I have since gone on to have my left breast removed as I tested positive for a gene mutation, my sister Sarah unfortunately tested positive for the same gene mutation and has very bravely undergone a double mastectomy too.
Cancer has had a massive impact on my life- in a positive way!
I have made a life long friend in fellow model Jo Sweeney, we have helped and continue to help each other and my ambition is to help others on their journey and to keep enjoying each and every day.
Maggies will be great for Manchester, it's such a beautiful building with a relaxing and calming atmosphere a perfect place to chill out!
It's a fantastic place for people who are living with cancer, have beaten cancer plus their family and friends to meet up and share experiences - sharing is a huge benefit!
I am so excited to be modeling in the fashion show, after my diagnosis I totally lost all my self confidence, my independence and I hated my appearance!
Modelling for me means I can show everyone that the smile does return to your face, you do get your confidence back and life does return to "normal".
In 2003, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at an advanced stage. My husband and I were trying for a baby at the time, so the loss of a breast, hair, energy as well as control (!) was difficult. The news that, despite Zoladex injections, the aggressive treatment would likely lead to infertility... was devastating. We couldn't freeze any eggs because there just wasn't any time before I had to start my treatment. In addition they told us that we should never have IVF treatment because my cancer was hormone-fuelled.
After surgery and by the time my Chemotherapy started, I was already starting to feel more positive... after all, the cancer was discovered and I was being treated for it. I considered myself lucky really. Despite having a bad reaction to the Chemo, I tried to remain cheerful. I felt more positive wearing a smile and silly wigs rather than being serious. I think this also helped my family and friends too. I could see the pain in their eyes and I felt somewhat responsible. I also felt that I'd rather have it that way, than watching any of THEM get sick. This mindset was tested only 4 years ago ... when my sister-in-law lost a long battle with bowel cancer (and I use the word "battle", as she fought very hard to survive). We are all still struggling to get to terms with her loss.
I have a very close and supportive husband, friends and family, who I think know me better than I know myself sometimes. On one occasion, when I was all smiles and jokes, my dad said: "I don't think it's really hit you yet". I laughed at the time, but he was right. After nearly a year of constant hospital appointments, I was told to come back for a "check up" 3 or 4 months later, which sounded like an eternity. I walked out of the hospital and felt lonely, lost and vulnerable as if my safety net had been taken from underneath me.
There were a few times when I would have welcomed support from someone not emotionally involved and sometimes just some "head space", or time to feel scared and worried without feeling ungrateful or that people might think I was being "negative". That is why I am so excited to be part of this brilliant project. I hope that one day every hospital has their own "Maggie's Centre".
On a personal note, a few years ago and contrary to previous advice, we were encouraged to try for a baby and have a cycle of IVF. We were extremely lucky and as a result have now beautiful 4 year old twins. Maybe things happen for a reason, I don't know. But I do know that I have a lot to be thankful for.
I feel very privileged and honoured to be part of such a wonderful charity, and can't wait to shake my "booty" on that catwalk. Especially with my 2 little miracles cheering me on!
I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February 2014 at the age of 20. After successful surgery to remove two tumors on my right side, a later CT scan confirmed that I had no more cancer in my body. Although surgery was the only treatment, it was still a very difficult time in my life. I am still under the watchful eye of the Christie having regular check-ups and scans and have been in remission now for over a year. Whist I was at the Christie, the Teenage Cancer Trust provided me with fantastic support and helped me cope with my diagnosis.
I also got to meet other young adults and teenagers who were in similar situations and made some great friends and now have a fabulous support network. I have modelled on the catwalk for Teenage Cancer Trust both at Runway on the Runway and at our Made from Manchester event at Harvey Nichols. I am proud to take part in Maggie’s on the Runway as it is a wonderful way to celebrate the opening of the new centre which will no doubt give adults the same support as the Teenage Cancer Trust gave me at a difficult time.
My name is Anu, I was born and brought up in Manchester, and I love life! I feel very blessed to have studied, worked and travelled all over the world but I'm not sure if any experience has taught me more than cancer. In a bittersweet way, there's no doubt that it has enriched my appreciation of life. So much of this positivity is down to the nurturing support I have received over the years from the original Maggie's centre in Edinburgh, where I was first diagnosed when I was 26 That was 16 years ago and since then I've had Hodgkin's lymphoma, a relapse, myelodysplastic syndrome and gynaecological cancer. I'm in remission but still affected by the side effects of cancer such as chronic fatigue and respiratory problems. Still, there is plenty to smile about and every day brings its special joys.