Cancer patients to sparkle on catwalk in fashion show

Michaela Waddell

Michaela Waddell

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THERE won’t be a dry eye in the house when the models in a very special fashion show with a heart take to the runway.

Teenage cancer patients, mums who have lost children to the disease and the doctors and nurses who work closely with cancer sufferers every day are the real-life stars of a catwalk taking place in Edinburgh this weekend – not willowy, 
6ft supermodels.

The It’s Good 2 Give Sparkle and Shine Fashion Show is the brainchild of Lynne McNicoll, 55, who has grown the event from a small production featuring a handful of cancer-battling models to this weekend’s charity spectacular, which will see more than 70 people affected in some way by the killer disease taking part.

Ms McNicoll said: “I just felt that I wanted to do something different and give something back. I’m amazed by how much the show has grown since we started out – we only had seven models the first year!

“Putting it all together has given me some white hairs, but it’s been worth it and I’ve had a lot of help. Many of the young patients who we’ve supported in the past, and their families, come back to volunteer.”

It’s Good 2 Give was set up in 2010 and aims to raise 
£1 million to fund a purpose-built respite house for young people and their families affected by cancer. Having already raised £200,000, the charity also offers day-to-day support for young cancer sufferers and the people close to them.

Ms McNicoll said: “We run lots of different fundraising events throughout the year, including doing the Pedal for Scotland challenge. I’ll also be taking a sponsored team to the top of Kilimanjaro next year.

“We do always raise a few thousand through the fashion show, but it’s really more about the models having fun, boosting their confidence and wearing nice clothes.

“We tell all the models it doesn’t matter what you do on the catwalk, so long as you smile. When they come off the catwalk, they are buzzing.”

Forth DJ Grant Stott, who is the patron of the charity, will be hosting the show, though he’ll be sharing the limelight with three young co-hosts who have all had cancer.

There will also be an upbeat playlist provided by Natalia Catechis, 14, who underwent two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009. Natalia will be having a busy night, as she will be modelling for the third year in a row, and performing with singing group E S#arp, which she formed with classmates from George Watson’s College.

Ms McNicoll added: “It’s very important to us that this is a community-based event. We have a great relationship with lots of boutiques who are providing clothes and jewellery for us. Charlie Miller have also been fantastic – a team of their stylists have offered to do all the hair for the show and representatives from Zest Beauty Salon will also be giving us the benefit of their skills.”

The show begins at 4pm on Sunday at the Tom Fleming Centre for the Performing Arts, Erskine Stewart’s Melville School. Tickets cost £10, or £5 if you buy four or more.

‘I felt like the odd one out on the ward’

WHEN Michaela Waddell woke up in the middle of the night smelling burnt toast for no reason, her first thought was that she had had a stroke.

Michaela told the Evening News: “I was also getting really bad headaches at the time. I went to see two doctors in Dundee, where I was studying, and three doctors in Edinburgh and they all told me I was just suffering from migraines. Eventually the sixth doctor, who my mother was friends with, sent me for a scan. It turned out I had a brain tumour the size of an orange on the right temporal lobe.

“I had 90 per cent of it removed surgically, then six weeks of combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by a year of chemo to get what was left.”

The 22-year-old – whose life was turned upside down three years ago – admits that she found it difficult staying on a ward with no-one else her age. “I felt the ward was full of mostly old men and the few women were much older. I just didn’t have anything in common with them. I felt like the odd one out. Even when I went to the toilet I felt everyone was looking at me because I was younger.

“Being in a teenage unit would have made it much more enjoyable to be in hospital.”

Michaela, of Fairmilehead, also thinks it’s important to raise awareness that cancer can strike anyone of any age. She added: “I think what happened to me is actually quite common – a lot of young people with cancer are not diagnosed promptly and that could be because they’re not very cancer aware.”

Michaela, who also designed the posters, tickets and programme cover for the show, will be modelling for the second time this year.

She continued: “I’ll be wearing a sparkly jumper from FiFi Wilson, and then I’ll be modelling some Hamilton and Inches jewellery later on.”