An Oxfordshire mum and daughter are set for an unforgettable day when they take to the catwalk at the annual Breast Cancer Care Show in London. The glamorous fashion show event kickstarts Breast Cancer Awareness Month and takes place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on 3 October. Beverley Griffiths (50) and Mary Martin (72) were both diagnosed with breast cancer in March/April 2018 and will be sharing the stage with 31 other people aged between 29-75, who have also been diagnosed and were selected out of hundreds of applicants.
Beverley and Mary were shocked when they both found out they had breast cancer. Mary found a lump first and didn’t tell Beverley straight away as it was her husband Paul’s 50th birthday and she didn’t want to ruin the celebrations. She finally told her a week later, at which time Beverley was also going to see her doctor with concerns over one of her breasts. Beverley was also trying not to tell her mum until she had been to her appointment, but in the end had to come clean when she found out they were going to be at the hospital at the same time.
“I didn’t find a lump,” Beverley says, “Mine felt more like gristle in a weird way. I thought I’d just put a bit of weight on and my boobs were getting a bit bigger, but then one side was progressively getting quite a bit bigger. When I first went to the hospital I had a mammogram and they said it was inconclusive – they said it could be an infection which caused the swelling. They weren’t 100% sure until they did the biopsy; it came back and they confirmed it was cancer.”
After surgery and chemotherapy, Beverley attended Breast Cancer Care’s Moving Forward course and met new friends and managed to put her life back together. Both she and her mother are doing “really well” now. “Mum didn’t have to have treatment because she found it quite early; she had to have a mastectomy but they were convinced they’d got everything so she didn’t have to have any of the actual treatments. When I went through chemotherapy, obviously there were ups and downs. But I had a friend say to me not long ago that I ‘just seemed to breeze through cancer’. I was like, ‘yes, because I didn’t want anyone else to feel bad.’ My mum was the same, we’d always be quite positive about things.”
Her treatment took place at the Churchill, where “the staff have just been fantastic. It’s a tough time but you’re really well looked after.” Four weeks after her diagnosis she started treatment. “There’s no hanging around, they get you in as quick as they can. I think we’re lucky in Oxford that we’ve got such a fantastic facility.”
For the Breast Cancer Care Show, the models will be transformed from head-to-toe before hitting the runway, wearing a range of beautiful outfits professionally styled by fashion director and stylist Hilary Alexander OBE. Hair will be styled by Sassoon Salon and professional makeup artists will be adding the finishing touches.
“Mum and I will be walking the catwalk together. We’ll do an afternoon and an evening show, so it’s quite full-on. We’ve got choreographers – I don’t know if I’m going to fall over or not, we’ll see. We are so excited to take part and can’t wait to step onto the catwalk in front of our friends and family and show everyone that a breast cancer diagnosis won’t stop you looking and feeling great.”
As well as the catwalk, guests of the event will be treated to fine dining, fundraising games and auctions, and first-class entertainment. Breast Cancer Care aims to raise over £300,000 from the event, which will enable the charity to continue to provide care, support and information, for free.