On 15 March 2016,  24 models will take to the catwalk for Breast Cancer Care’s fashion show in Wales. All the models taking part have had a diagnosis of breast cancer. Each model has their own story and reason for taking part.

Alix Dash

I was diagnosed shortly after my twenty fourth birthday last year. With no family history of breast cancer or awareness it could happen to someone as young as me, it was a great shock. After a mastectomy and six cycles of chemotherapy, I felt and looked like a completely different person within a matter of months. During my treatment I focused on getting better and attending my appointments, and when this ended I didn’t feel confident or happy in myself due to the physical and emotional changes I had faced.

Losing my hair was the hardest part for me, especially at a young age, I felt like I couldn’t go out and do all the other things my friends were doing because of the way I looked and felt. Since ending my treatment I started exercising and looking after my body and this has led me to feel a lot more confident and happy in myself.

I want to take part in the show to raise awareness that younger women can get breast cancer too, and show that there is a life after cancer. I also want to help support Breast Cancer Care who provide an excellent support service for younger women with breast cancer. 

 

Alix Dash

 

Amanda Webber

I was diagnosed in December 2013, a week before Christmas. I distinctly remember being told that I had breast cancer and that I would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It was a dark time for us all. I had an 80th birthday party to organize for my Mum and I was visiting my Dad regularly in hospital. He lost his battle to dementia on my first day of chemotherapy.

My life, as I knew it, was changing drastically and I really wasn’t sure how I would cope. Thankfully, I have a tremendously supportive husband, mother and sister and the rest of my family was fantastic too. I am a Head of Year at a local High School and my kids were amazing. They kept me sane throughout the whole process and I cannot thank them enough. I was also fortunate to have an army of fabulous friends, who ferried me to hospital appointments and kept me positive throughout. Breast Cancer Care has been a lifeline for me and I wanted to repay them and my family for the constant love and support I have received throughout.

Every day is a challenge but two years on, I am still positive, back at work and enjoying every moment with my family and friends. The fashion show is my chance to show everyone who cares about me that I really am okay now. The past two years have made me realize that you never really know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

 

A photo of Amanda Webber

 

Bamidele Adenipekun

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2014 after a routine test on breast tissue taken from a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. To say I was shocked is an understatement as I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with a diagnosis at all. Thank God it was caught on time. I am currently on hormone therapy.

It has been a rollercoaster ride but the support of family especially my now 11-year-old daughter as well as friends has been invaluable. Even though I’d been given Breast Cancer Care booklets on diagnosis; I didn’t know about their valuable work until I visited their stall at a Breast Reconstruction Awareness evening in October 2014. I’ve always stated that I refuse to be defined by the diagnosis. The Show is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate life as well as raise funds for a worthy cause.

 

Bamidele Adenipekun

Dee Thomas

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 aged just 26. I was advised to have a double mastectomy due to an aggressive tumor but opted for a left mastectomy and lymph node removal with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was told I may not see my next birthday – I thought I was going to die but thankfully I am obviously still here!. Unfortunately, support services like Breast Cancer Care were not as readily accessible when I was diagnosed. I now volunteer for BCC; they make you realise you can still enjoy life and have fun after diagnosis while meeting your challenges head on.

My husband, and my two daughters, born despite the medical opinion following my illness, can’t wait to see me strut my stuff. I’m absolutely terrified ,but I’m honored to have been asked and I hope I’m able to inspire others, in that I was diagnosed 21 years ago and I’m still going strong!

 

A photo of Dee Thomas

Eryl Jones-Utter

2016 is a very special year for me as it’s my 60th birthday. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2003, had a mastectomy followed by Tamoxifen for 5 years.  In 2011 I became a volunteer for Breast Cancer Care providing support as part of the 'Someone like me' team, as well as fundraising for Team Barbra. As a volunteer I've met some amazing people.  We have walked together, laughed together but we are also there for each other. I'm excited as well as nervous about being a model, but also extremely proud to have been chosen.

 

A photo of eryl jones utter

Jane Shatford

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 47 the only other person I was aware of that had received  similar devastation news was Kylie Minogue, hardly someone you could pop around to for coffee and a comforting word! I felt very frightened and completely isolated.  Luckily, my Breast Care Nurse gave me a leaflet about Breast Cancer Care Cymru’s four week course ‘Passport to Rehabilitation’.

Not only did the course provide the information and support I was desperately looking for, I also got to know eleven other amazing women all going through the same experience. When the course finished we decided that we didn’t want to lose touch so we started meeting up for coffee or a meal and would text each other whilst going through various treatments. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of Breast Cancer Care Cymru.   

 

A photo of Jane Shatford

Jane Watkins

When I was first diagnosed at the age of 40 in March 2013 I was in complete and utter shock I never thought in my wildest dreams that the lump I had found in my left breast could have been cancer. 6 weeks later I had a mastectomy with an LD flap reconstruction and was treated with chemotherapy, herceptin and tamoxifen.

During my treatment and recovery I found breast cancer care to be invaluable support to me and have turned to them and the website endlessly and still do!!! I am thrilled and excited at being chosen to be a breast cancer care model, to do something fun with others who have gone through the same feelings and struggles as me, for my family and friends to be able to share the experience with me and at the same time raise money for breast cancer care. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to gain some confidence regain my self esteem and to give something back, there is life after breast cancer!

 

A photo of jane watkins

Joanne Lewis

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 24th of April, 2012, the day before my ninth wedding anniversary. All at once my safe and secure world came crashing down. How was I going to explain this terrifying diagnosis to my two beautiful daughters, Isabelle and Rebecca, who were just 5 and 7 at the time? Luckily, a friend gave me the Breast Cancer Care booklet, "Mummy's got a lump," which helped enormously to put things into very simple terms for them to understand.

I had a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. The treatment does take its toll on you both physically and mentally, but with the help of my husband, my family and my friends, I managed to get through it. Now, three years later, I am so excited and honoured to be chosen as a model in the fashion show for not only do I get to meet some lovely, lovely people, I also get to wear some lovely, lovely clothes. So thank you Breast Cancer Care for giving me this wonderful opportunity, I really can't wait! 

 

A photo of Joanne Lewis

Judith Jones

Who am I? A woman on a journey through life, as we all do. I have managed to find an add on journey, which is mine alone and unique to me.

At 61 a routine mammogram showed something! I have been there before so no worries, not so this time. Lumpectomy then mastectomy, no follow up treatment, cancer not oestrogen trigged. As I have a heart problem I didn’t have reconstruction. Prosthesis and I are great friends. Two years later I became a volunteer, the first recruited on the opening of the welcome office for Breast Cancer Care in Wales.

Four years later, the same thing all over again in my other breast, but as check ups yearly only needed lumpectomy. As I am now over 70 I ring up for routine mammogram, never forgetting that saved my life. Still a volunteer and have met many amazing women. So still on my journey, you never need to be alone, Breast Cancer Care is there for us.

 

A photo of Judith Jones

Kaye Mundy

I’m married with two grown-up children and a daughter-in-law living away so we enjoy the times when we can get together and catch up on what’s happening. I work part-time as a medical secretary, love baking cakes (and eating them) and enjoy walking and fund raising with Team Barbra. Oh, and I’ve had breast cancer twice. I was diagnosed the first time in 1997 and again in 2003 when I had a mastectomy.  There have been difficult times which made me realise that your family and health are the most important things in life. This show brings my year of 60th birthday celebrations to a close and what a finale it will be! Indeed, it’s been a year full of pleasant surprises. Walking down the catwalk, all dolled up, will be a very welcome change from rucksack and walking boots!

 

A photo of Kaye Mundy

Leanne Hugglestone

I  was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer in May 2012 aged 32 years old. My grandmother died from the disease aged just 39.

My cancer was caught early but my treatment still included lumpectomy surgery, IVF treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, drug trials and then Tamoxifen. I received treatment on a Mobile Cancer Support Unit, which delivers chemotherapy and treatment closer to patients’ homes. I've also had a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction and counselling. I still have a long road ahead.

Along with friends, family and work colleagues I has raised over £7000 for various cancer charities and for the past two years running has helped raise money for Breast Cancer care in my workplace with the health and Wellbeing group in Companies House, Cardiff. 

 

A photo of Leanne Hugglestone

Lynn Abel

Fourteen years ago aged 47 I had breast cancer. My mind in a whirl, a week to decide lumpectomy or mastectomy? Two weeks later I had a mastectomy then chemotherapy. Losing two stone in weight, to this day if I see a chemo chair I have the metallic taste in my mouth and feel sick.

I turned to Breast Cancer Care. Wanting reliable information, to talk to women who had been where I was.

Two years later to give something back I became a volunteer, and have seen this trusted charity grow. Being involved in many aspects from someone like me support, to shaking buckets and helping in the office. I have wonderful friends among other volunteers and the staff.

Having a reconstruction in 2009 I used the services again, the ask a nurse service and someone like me volunteers, they really are someone like me. On to the show, exciting times.

 

A photo of Lynn Abel

Melanie Doel

I feel lucky to be alive. When I received a letter inviting me for routine breast screening seven years ago  I  threw it in the bin. My husband found it and made me go for a mammogram. It was only through that test that my breast cancer was discovered. Newly engaged I had to postpone my wedding for a year while I underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, then Herceptin. I also joined a clinical trial testing a new drug.

The support I had from Breast Cancer Care was amazing, ranging from practical advice in their leaflets to the emotional support they continue to give to this day. I later became a volunteer and some of the friends I have made have become life-long mates. I eventually did walk down the aisle – happy and healthy – and walking down the cat walk is going to be just as thrilling and exciting. 

 

A photo of Melanie Doel

Melanie Nicholas

I'm from Texas, originally. I moved to Wales when I was 26. I was 38 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer in June 2014. I had lots of support from my boyfriend, colleagues, friends from both the UK & America, and of course, my loving family. They all gave me the strength to power through and beat it!

When treatment ended, I found it difficult to adapt back into being 'normal'. Breast Cancer Care came into my life at the right time! I have made friends with women from all over and it is great to share our stories and have a laugh too!! I am looking forward to struttin' my stuff on the catwalk with some of these girls.

 

A photo of Melanie Nicholas

Rachel Drago

I am a married mother to two teenager girls Frankie and Gabby. My husband Guido and I met at university on a blind date and I do believe in love at first sight! I was diagnosed in 2009 and my family supported me through my treatment with patience and humour. I had to halt my studies into Advanced Nursing Practice to undergo treatment. But as soon as I felt better I resumed my course and passed everything, which was an amazing feeling – to have completed my treatment and get my post grad diploma. What can I say? Double win!

Breast cancer care provided me with so much support, the online forums were a great space to talk, cry, laugh and joke. The friends I made on the forum remain friends to this day. The fashion show for me is a celebration and a remembrance. I feel honoured to be part of this day. 

 

A photo of Rachel Drago

Rachel Ferry

I Iive in Resolven with my husband and my 2 young children, Callum and Hannah. I was diagnosed at the age of 41. I had breast cancer in both my breasts and my lymph nodes. My cancer was aggressive and so was my treatment plan. I have had a double mastectomy with no reconstruction. I also had my ovaries removed as I have the altered BRCA1 gene.

My husband and I both like to run in various events to raise money for Breast cancer care as they have been so amazing for me, I really want to give back to the charity. We have raised over £2000. I'm currently undergoing treatment including chemo again for a recurrence, but I'm winning!  

 

A photo of Rachel Ferry, a model in the Breast Cancer Care show Wales

Ronald Rees

My twin Eunice and I were born in Isleworth, Middlesex, on the 20th November 1944. I am married to Claudette and have 5 daughters and 6 grandchildren. We have our family home in Swansea and a holiday home in the Algarve. My hobbies are gardening, playing chess and writing.  And... watching dated episodes of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

In November 2011, after attending A & E in Portimao hospital, while staying in our holiday home in the Algarve I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was lucky to be operated on by a very efficient surgeon and had a single mastectomy in January 2012.  I am in remission until 2017.

I am grateful that in the 21st century, much has been done to raise awareness of the cancer that affects the lives of so many. It has helped people to realise that cancer affects anyone, regardless of gender, diet or age. We learn through advertisements and charity events today, how we are affected by this disease. Their family and friends all feel the pain and when awareness is raised, people can help through contributions so people affected by breast cancer can be supported throughout.

 

Ronald Rees

Sandra Walters-Butler

I was diagnosed in 2012, at the age of 45, this was a shock as I had been told the year previous that the lump was dense breast tissue and nothing to worry about, unfortunately it was not and when diagnosed it had already spread to my lymph nodes and spine. I have continued to work as I need some normality in my life; I get strength from my loving family and my ever so faithful little dog Joe.

 I was on holidays when I received the call to say I had been chosen to be a model on The Breast Cancer Care Show, I rarely get a chance to dress up these days so I am so looking forward to it. We can let it define us or we can sculpt our own future, living with cancer and not dying with it. Be strong, be proud and be beautiful.

 

A photo of Sandra Walters Butler

Sarah Perkins

I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the age 40. I felt the fittest I had ever felt – so 'why me?' I ask! Two weeks after I had a lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation. That chapter in my life was very mixed emotions as I also had two new lovely nieces arrive. The worst for me was losing all my long hair – I just could not embrace the no hair look. The worm has gone now – that’s what I called it so I am now ready to strut my stuff on the catwalk. I attended the show in March 2014 with a wig but this time around I have all my own hair. I would like to thank all my friends and family for all their support and continued support.

 

A photo of Sarah Perkins

Shan Parfitt

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and underwent three lumpectomies and a course of radiotherapy. The booklets published by Breast Cancer Care are fantastic – when you’re in a state of shock, it’s hard to take in what people are saying to you, so the information was invaluable in helping me understand my diagnosis and make decisions about my treatment.

I became a Best Foot Forward volunteer in 2014. I love walking and know how uplifting being outdoors and gentle exercise can be and it’s been great seeing women who have had a similar diagnosis support each other. I feel very lucky to be part of this wonderful event – I am looking forward to wearing some fabulous clothes and being able to strut my stuff!

 

Shan Parfitt

Sian Edwards

I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, then again in 2013 and 2014. I'm a mum of 5 wonderful children and work full time as a nurse. I am very proud to be stepping out of my comfort zone and taking part in this event, helping to raise money for this invaluable cause. I am looking forward to strutting my stuff with all the other amazing women and men showing their strength and determination and celebrating life. This show is a once in a life time opportunity and I can't wait to enjoy every minute. I am also looking forward to seeing all my family at the show, who have been a constant support through out my cancer journey. 

 

A photo of Sian Edwards

Stephen Cotterell

I am a 66-year-old retired Police Officer.  I served with South Wales Police for 36 years.  I have been married to Margaret for 44 years and we have two daughters Rachel and Nicola and 5 grand children Dee, Kiera, Erin, Frankie and Jamie.  I am interested in all sports particularly rugby and I am President of South Wales Police RFC.

I found that I had Breast Cancer in May 2015 after my younger grandson accidentally kicked me in my breast.  I examined myself and found my nipple was inverted and I had a lump. I went to my GP on the Monday morning and he immediately referred me to the Radiology Department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. I underwent a mastectomy and had my lymph nodes were removed. I was only in hospital for 24 hrs and was then nursed at home by the excellent team of District Nurses.

It was a shock to find I had Breast Cancer and had not considered it as an illness that men could suffer from. I was lucky to have marvellous support from my family. As I type this I am still undergoing Chemotherapy and will then have Radiotherapy. The treatment should be complete by December 2015.

I was very pleased to be chosen as a model proving that they come in all sizes. I want to bring my situation to the attention of all men and encourage them to self examine their chests as regularly as other parts of their body. Have a nice evening and support the charity.

 

A photo of Stephen Cotterell

Toni Walters

I was diagnosed aged 39, single mum to a 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.  I had always been fit and healthy through running and playing netball. Finding the lump wasn't a shock for me as there's a long line of family already gone through it, most recently my older sister 2 years before me so I kind of knew what it was as soon as I found it. It didn't frighten me too much at that point as I had seen all my family go through it so I knew what to expect.

Keeping life as normal as possible was a priority for me as I didn't want the children to panic.  I didn't have cancer on my 'things to do' list so didn't give it any place in our lives. I had all the treatment, 2 operations followed by radiotherapy and chemo, only taking a few weeks off work.  I had amazing support from my best friends who I play netball with and we ran the Cardiff half marathon in my cancer year followed by a girls holiday to 'kiss goodbye to cancer' in Marbella.  

All of these things are memorable and were exciting but being chosen to be part of The Show is just something else – I feel so privileged to be able to get up there and show the world how great you can be following cancer.  Hope my experience in The Show will give anyone going through the same as me hope and confidence that everything will be ok – just got to keep smiling.

I have had numerous scares since 2010 but for some reason it doesn't shake me nor break me – I'm stronger than cancer can ever be.

 

A photo of Tori Walters Butler

Tracey Ilesfry

I was diagnosed in December 2012 at the age of 46, my world was turned upside down facing a mastectomy, intense chemo, and radiotherapy, going through every emotion it was like a rollercoaster my family were with me every step of the way and helped me through it. I am now in my 3rd year and I am so proud to be a part of this event to help raise money in recognition of the support I have received from Breast Cancer Care.

I have become a  volunteer for Breast Cancer Care and I feel privileged that I can offer support and  be  there for those who are going through the breast cancer journey as no one should face it alone.  I now live each day to the full and I’m so looking forward to being a model and taking part in the Show.
  

 

Tracy Illesfry

 

If you would like to sponsor our inspirational models, please visit the JustGiving page.