Cancer survivors strike a pose in uplifting fashion show

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Cancer Survivors' Day model Sasha Leacock

Twenty models who have recently finished or are still undergoing cancer treatment strutted their stuff down the catwalk this weekend in an uplifting and inspiring fashion show.

In celebration of Cancer Survivors’ Day, the fashion show was one of many events organised by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, which took place at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s on Sunday 23 June.

The models wore the latest fashions designed by students at Newham College, whose alumni includes the late Alexander McQueen, and London College of Fashion where renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo studied. The show also showcased clothes from Outsider, Fox in a Glove, Let It Gibbon, June’s Young Millinery and Peacocks.

Taking to the catwalk was 48-year-old Sasha Leacock. A part-time arts manager and mother-of-one, Sasha took part in the fashion show following treatment for breast cancer in in 2018.

Sasha said: “Being part of the fashion show was my way of celebrating the end of my cancer treatment, giving back to Guy’s and St Thomas’ and living my life more fully. I had an amazing time and I really enjoyed being on the catwalk.”

Sasha was treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ where she had eight sessions of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the lymph nodes in her left underarm. She finished her treatment last January after undergoing radiotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells and is now in remission.

Joining Sasha was 48-year-old Mandy Mahoney. The mum-of-two was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. She’s had five further recurrences and is now living with incurable metastatic breast cancer.

Mandy, from Bromley in south east London, said: “I know how fragile my health can be so I want to make the most of life. I now say ‘yes’ to all the opportunities that come my way, even the mad ones.”

Mandy has already signed up for the world's largest inflatable obstacle course, entered a powerlifting competition with her daughter, agreed to take on a 10km run, and – despite a fear of heights – climbed the O2.

David Cheesman, cancer programme director for Guys’ and St Thomas’ said: “Cancer Survivors’ Day is always a highlight of our calendar and this year was no exception. For our fifth year, we wanted it to be our biggest and best and having spoken with visitors, the feedback couldn’t have been better. I would like to thank everyone who attended and send a special thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make it such an uplifting and inspiring day.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ pioneered the UK’s first Cancer Survivors’ Day in 2014.

Staff were 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.

As well as a fashion show, live music, seminars and exhibits, Cancer Survivors’ Day, which is supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, also featured a Celebration Walk.

The walk, started by Jonathan Dimbleby, headed out along Southbank, over Waterloo Bridge before heading back passing many of London’s landmarks and circling part of the Thames. There were 60 participants taking part raising money and awareness of Guy’s Cancers, many of whom have either been treated at the Cancer Centre or have had a close family member treated there.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity raises money to make the Trust’s life-saving care go above and beyond; from big things to small touches that help patients and their families feel looked after.

Last updated: March 2022

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