We're proud to introduce a few of the wonderful models for this year's Breast Cancer Care fashion show. Due to be their biggest extravaganza yet, we caught up with Clive, Letitia and Clover to see how they are feeling in the run up to the big day…
What inspired you to become a Breast Cancer Care model?
Clive: I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. Being a Breast Cancer Care model gives you the opportunity to help raise significant amounts of money for the charity. Money that can be used to help train nurses or trained volunteers to assist others who are facing breast cancer.
I first attended the Breast Cancer Care fashion show in 2008, the year that I was diagnosed with the disease. I was in the middle of my chemotherapy and it was something that I thought I would be able to do.
Clover: I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. It was devastating but in 2012 I went to Breast Cancer Care’s fashion show and was so blown away seeing how wonderful the models looked despite their diagnoses! I loved the way The Show encouraged men and women who have had breast cancer to feel better about themselves. And I thought it was such a great way to show the power of clothing and dressing up. After having such a great time as a guest, I decided to volunteer in 2013. I worked as a hostess for the evening and helped to raise money and awareness for the charity – which felt great! This year, I dared to apply and was given a place as a model – I’m still pinching myself that I was selected from 250+ applicants!
I applied because I wanted to help Breast Cancer Care show the diversity of men and women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. I feel it’s important for people to see positive representations from their own cultures – it can give them confidence in themselves. I want to show others how spirits can be lifted after breast cancer and also motivate them to take action to give back to Breast Cancer Care when they feel able to do so. Breast Cancer Care helps support thousands of men and women facing breast cancer – I have used their Someone Like Me service, Lingerie Evenings, Helpline and Younger Women Together events – so I know how important the charity is for anyone diagnosed.
Letitia: I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer seven years ago and secondary breast cancer in 2012. I am looking forward to modelling on the catwalk as I want to show myself, my friends and my family, including my husband and son, that I am still me, that I am still a woman, and that I am living with secondary breast cancer. My life is still exciting and fun despite my diagnosis.
Clive: I modelled in The Show in 2009 so I have an idea of what is likely to happen this year, but I know most of the other models will be nervous about doing it. Yet once they have stepped onto the catwalk and completed their first walk, all of their nerves will disappear and they'll be looking forward to the next few walks. When it's all done there is a tremendous sense of achievement.
Clover: I’m rather nervous about doing a Naomi Campbell fall on the catwalk in high heels… or stepping out on the runway and bursting into tears like Gwyneth Paltow at the Oscars! Seriously…I’m excited about getting to know the other men and women who will be modelling on the catwalk. We all met up at Breast cancer Care in April and there was something very special about being in a room with others who have faced this devastating disease. We had such a laugh, and I’m looking forward to the next time we can all get together… My whole-hearted wish is that all of the models, in our various stages of on our breast cancer journey, will be as healthy and happy as we can be as we walk down that runway.
Letitia: Before my diagnosis I was an active, body confident person – I’d even done a bit of modelling in my younger years! Now I am the complete opposite. I don’t know where the confidence will come from on the day but at the moment I don’t feel nervous (that will probably change!) I just want to savour every minute of it. It will be my way of saying a big thank you to all of those I love who have supported me.
I’m also really looking forward to raising money for Breast Cancer Care – this charity has been my lifeline. Their Helpline and Living with Secondary Breast Cancer support group have helped me to understand what my diagnosis, and all the scary terminology and treatments associated with it, mean. What is happening to me is so alien and I need the information, knowledge and support Breast Cancer Care provide to survive. I would have been lost without them. The charity has also provided me with an ear when I want to discuss things which are far too scary to share with my loved ones. So taking on the catwalk is my way of thanking them and raising money so Breast Cancer Care can continue to support even more people facing breast cancer.
What are your biggest hopes for the future?
Clive: My biggest hope for the future is that research is done which comes up with a way to predict the onset of this disease at a very early stage.
Clover: My biggest hope is to remain cancer free and support others who face a breast cancer diagnosis. My diagnosis of breast cancer really affected me to the core. Facing up to what felt like a death sentence with a shortened future resonated deeply with me. My journey to recovery gave me the time and razor-sharp focus to see what really mattered in my life… Which has led me to a brand new career and promoting confidence and self-esteem after diagnosis through fashion.
I now design confidence-boosting swimwear for women who have had breast cancer surgery to help them look gorgeous and feel confident. This business came about as a result of me having to sew a bikini to cope with the challenge of concealing my mastectomy on a much-deserved holiday. On my return, I spoke to many other women through Breast Cancer Care and found my experience was all too common.
My future now consists of creating swimwear, encouraging exercise and positive body image to the many women whom I’ve inadvertently become linked to through this disease. Some may perceive having an interest in fashion as shallow. However my own post-cancer experiences showed me that clothing can be transformative; a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment means many of us have to readdress how to cover and conceal our altered bodies in a number of different circumstances. Fashion can help this, as we shall soon see at The Show on the 1st October!
Letitia:I just want to enjoy every day and continue telling my loved ones how much I love them. I’m also really excited to be appearing on QVC in October – I’m a dedicated customer so I can’t wait! Once my current treatment is finished I’d also like to move to Spain with my husband and our dog Monty. I want to enjoy some sun and the more relaxed Spanish lifestyle. Life is for living and that’s exactly what I intend to do!
To see Clive, Clover and Letitia on the catwalk, along with 21 other inspiring models who have all faced breast cancer, you can join us at the star-studded Breast Cancer Care fashion show on Wednesday 1st October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The event launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
If you'd like to book your tickets, visit breastcancercare.org.uk/theshow or call 0845 0920 806.