Rebecca's pride at taking part in fashion show

WHEN Rebecca Smithers steps onto the catwalk next week for a charity fashion show in aid of breast cancer care it will be with an enormous sense of pride.

Craig Robinson

WHEN Rebecca Smithers steps onto the catwalk next week for a charity fashion show in aid of breast cancer care it will be with an enormous sense of pride.

The 51-year-old from Saxmundham was diagnosed with the disease in March last year and has since undergone eight months of treatment.

The discovery of a lump in her left breast turned her life upside down but she is now on the road to recovery and keen to help others who have also been diagnosed.

Along with 24 other women she will be stepping out for Breast Cancer Care's London Fashion Show, which is happening on Wednesday at Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Rebecca, who is married to award winning photographer Eamonn McCabe and underwent eight months of treatment, said: “I had the whole works - mastectomy and immediate reconstruction followed by chemotherapy, more surgery and radiotherapy.

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“It was difficult, particularly when I lost my hair. But you have to learn to accept it.

“I'm the sort of person who won't even take tablets for a headache and all of a sudden I was having these incredibly toxic drugs pumped through my body.

“But a year on, it's given me a new strength that I didn't know I had. I approach life very differently now. It has made me realise that you do not know what the future holds and that you have to live life to the full every single day.

“I had a flat in London and a house in Saxmundham but I now spend most of my time here to spend quality time with family and friends.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Rebecca - a journalist for The Guardian newspaper - said she would encourage any woman who thought something was wrong to visit their GP as soon as possible.

“Don't be afraid to go to the doctors,” she said. “Always go and check it out because the sooner you get it done the better. In my case it wasn't as the result of screening, I felt something that wasn't right and went to the doctor.”

There will be one fashion show in the afternoon and another in the evening, with the aim of raising at least �500,000 to support the 46,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.

Rebecca is also taking part in memory of her mother, Betty Smithers, who lived in Haughley, near Stowmarket, and passed away shortly after she finished her treatment.

“She was a fashion historian and lecturer and had a real passion for fashion,” Rebecca said. “She was also a fantastic mum. I am modelling in her memory, knowing that she would be proud of me and that she would have approved of the fundraising being done for such a worthy cause.

“A friend of mine went to the fashion show last October and rang me the following day to tell me how impressed she was and that she wanted to see me up on the catwalk the following year.

“I'm proud to do my bit in raising the profile of breast cancer and help others who may be in the same boat in the future.

“It's hard to believe it's crept up so quickly. There is still a lot to do but I am looking forward to it.”

To sponsor Rebecca visit www.justgiving.com/rebecca-smithers0 .

Ticket prices for the show are �60 and details can be found at www.breastcancercare.org.uk/theshow. To book call 020 7960 3554 or email theshow@breastcancercare.org.uk.

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