AN INSPIRATIONAL mum-of-three from Oakdale has been chosen to model at a fashion show to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Anita Hughes, 54, will be modelling at Breast Cancer Care’s Cymru exhibition at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on March 5 to prove to others with the same condition they can look and feel great after a diagnosis.
Ms Hughes underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy after being told she had breast cancer in May 2011. Sadly, her mum, Patricia Powell, 78, was also told she had breast cancer in November that year.
Ms Hughes, a former financial planning manager at HSBC in Blackwood, said: “It was a difficult time in my life. My mother was too afraid to tell me she had cancer. I discovered a lump in my left breast after watching the TV programme ‘Embarrassing Bodies’. After consulting my GP and being referred to the Royal Gwent Hospital, I was diagnosed with grade three cancer.
“Chemotherapy made me very sick and the loss of my hair was extremely traumatic. I hated my wig. It spent most of its time on a horse head ornament in the lounge.”
Ms Hughes said the trauma made her realise “life is not a trial run”, and she took up new hobbies including playing the saxophone and attending a weekly art class where she tries her hand at painting watercolour and pastel.
She also reads English on a voluntary basis with Year 5 and 6 at Ysgol Gymraeg Trelyn for a couple of hours a week.
But now, Ms Hughes, who has raised over £700 for Breast Cancer Care, is preparing for her latest challenge as a model.
“Stepping onto the catwalk in front of everyone, including my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way, will be a chance to say ‘I’m still here, living life to the full and still feel feminine’,” she said.
“It’s been a massive struggle to get my confidence back but this helps so much. Being involved in the show has also been an opportunity to meet other people who have been through a similar experience. Thank you Breast Cancer Care for bringing us together in such an unforgettable way.”
Samia al Qadhi, Breast Cancer Care’s chief executive, said: “Our models have such a positive attitude and a desire to live life at full tilt. They are an inspiration to us all.”
Money raised from the show will go towards supporting people with breast cancer in Wales. To donate through Ms Hughes, go to justgiving.com/Anita-Hughes1