A fabulous, uplifting experience!
The Show is an annual celebration of everything positive about life after a diagnosis of breast cancer. It featured a truly wonderful fashion show with all the models, male and female, having lived through the experience of a breast cancer diagnosis. Sadly one model, Sally White, passed away before the show which was dedicated to her name. A powerful reminder of how breast cancer can steal away a life so quickly and viciously. I have to say that her fellow models did her proud – a truly amazing show!
However, it wasn’t all about fashion, there is an important message to impart too; that regardless of what surgery and treatment generally has done to your body, it is still possible to walk tall, proud of your body and comfortable in your skin. I was deeply moved by all the models, their stories and in watching the show, I realised that there was hope for me yet.
I won’t give a blow by blow account but instead pick out some of my favourite moments. Oh what the hell, who am I kidding? The whole thing was bloody fantastic, every single segment and vignette had its own highlights and there really are far too many to list!
One thing that drew gasps of admiration from all the ladies sat at my table was the female models’ ability to sasshay down the catwalk in a dazzling collection of vertiginous heels! In fact the final, gold-themed evening wear segment left me with major pangs of both shoe and dress envy. The gold dresses, all those crystal encrusted shoes, the oodles of bling, it was such a wonderful finish to the catwalk show. After this model Nadiya Donovan gave a powerful speech about her personal breast cancer experience, a speech that moved many, including me, to tears. It was beautiful, heartfelt and summed up much that many of us feel about how breast cancer has touched our lives. It took a lot of courage to make that speech and she has my deepest respect for being able to do it.
Away from the show itself there was something else that made this such a wonderful experience; the opportunity to meet women from all over the country who had similar experiences to my own. It was a tough decision to accept Breast Cancer Care’s generous invitation to attend as their guest because I was very nervous about travelling to such a large event on my own all the way from North Devon. I won’t pretend that it was easy but I donned my very poshest, pink suit and got on the train with a determination that no matter what, I was going to have a good time and I did!
There were a couple of hiccoughs – the struggle to get a complimentary glass of orange juice from a jobsworth waiter, who I discovered was quite happily handing out extras without charge or production of the ticket he demanded from me! Then there was the fact that there was not a single thing for me to eat, even though I had phoned the hotel ahead with all my details asking for something gluten free. I recognise that I should have mentioned this in advance to the BCC team but I was assured by the person I spoke to that it wouldn’t be a problem if I gave my name to the staff serving our table. This however was met with nothing more than blank looks and an offer of a second cup of tea! It was tough watching everyone else enjoy a selection of what looked like yummy sandwiches, scones and pastries when all I could eat was the preserve and the clotted cream but I reminded myself that a) I hadn’t paid to be there and b) everything else about the day was brilliant. 🙂
I would stress that this in no way at all spoiled the day. When I arrived I was taken under the wing of a lovely lady called Michelle and her friends who fought a splendid battle on my behalf over the drink and mentioned it to the organisers later on. I never got her last name and I didn’t see her again after we took our seats but Michelle and your friends – thank you so much for looking after me!
It took me almost five and a half hours to get home but the long train journey was made easier by the fact that for part of it I sat by a lovely lady who’d also been to the show. She was a previous model and was great company on a train that was running very late – thank you Gloria!
All in all it was one incredible, uplifting, truly amazing experience – thank you so much Breast Cancer Care!