Brave cancer survivors strut their stuff on the catwalk


Posted on Wednesday 27 June 2018
Cancer Survivors' Day fashion show

The brave group of cancer survivors taking part in the fashion show for Cancer Survivors' Day.

More than 20 models who all recently finished or are still undergoing treatment for cancer inspired others by taking part in a fashion show at the weekend (Sunday 24 June).

The courageous cancer survivors took to the catwalk as part of King’s Health Partners’ fourth annual Cancer Survivors’ Day event, which was held at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s.

The models, who were all treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital or Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, wore a range of colourful and creative outfits made by a host of designers and Newham College London. Additionally, some of the models wore England shirts which were donated by the Football Association and coincided with England’s record World Cup win against Panama. The fashion show was attended by the Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Catherine Rose.

One of the cancer survivors was Songul Yildiz, 42, who modelled alongside her six-year-old daughter Gunesh and her 15-month-old daughter Bahar. Songul found out she was pregnant with Bahar after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the care she received at Guy’s and St Thomas’, she was able to have treatment while pregnant and Bahar was safely delivered at 38 weeks.

Songul said: “Joining the Cancer Survivors’ Day catwalk was my way of saying thanks to the teams at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who treated me and my daughter. I also want to raise awareness of what I went through so that other women in a similar situation know that they’re not alone. I would never normally do something like this but I wanted to show that cancer doesn’t have to hold you back.”

As well as the fashion show, the celebrations included live music from the Evelina Zip Band, formed of members of staff from Evelina London Children’s Hospital and singer Laura Doggett, a performance from the Tenovus Choir, numerous talks and information stalls about science, health and wellbeing and tours of the Cancer Centre’s radiotherapy floor.

There was also a live link-up to four patients from Guy’s and St Thomas’ who competed in the first ever Oncology Games in Rome earlier in the day and all won medals, including two golds. Meanwhile, the chaplaincy team encouraged visitors to write messages of hope to tie onto a tree outside the Cancer Centre. For every 10 messages received, a tree will be planted in a new Tree of Hope Grove in the Highlands of Scotland.

The day also included a Celebration Walk taking in London’s sights to celebrate cancer survivorship and raise vital funds for Guy’s Cancer.

The event was inspired by a visit to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, America, where staff and patients have celebrated Cancer Survivors’ Day for more than 20 years. Guy’s and St Thomas’ pioneered the UK’s first Cancer Survivors’ Day in 2014.

Professor Arnie Purushotham, Joint Director of King’s Health Partners Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said: “It is a pleasure to host this celebratory event every year. We say that it is a celebration of hope and each year we reflect on how we have improved cancer care in the last 12 months. It’s always wonderful to see how we are progressing, from funding innovative cancer treatment to working on research that will transform patients’ lives.

“Seeing so many of our patients who have overcome cancer show how far they’ve come on the catwalk is truly inspirational. We’d also like to say a massive thank you to all the patients, families, carers, staff, volunteers, event organisers and exhibitors who made this incredible event possible.”

The Cancer Survivors’ Day events were organised by King’s Health Partners, which Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is part of.  Patients from south east London were invited to attend the event. Each year around 7,500 new cancer diagnoses are made in the region.

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