For its fifteenth year, the glitzy Aurora Fashion Show is set to stun again, with some of the bravest models ever to chance the catwalk.
The glittering occasion tonight (Thursday) and Friday, at the Doncaster Dome features men, women and young people who have conquered cancer, and all that comes with it. They are joined by some of the medical staff who have treated them.
Models will overcome their nerves, to ‘give something back’ to Doncaster’s cancer services, and to encourage those newly diagnosed, who may be terrified of the future.
At 21, Becky Jordan of Dunsville is a show veteran. She has appeared in it over 10 years, and is heavily involved.
Becky said: “I was diagnosed with leukaemia not long after my fourth birthday. I went through two-and-a-half years of treatment and chemotherapy....a very worrying time.
“I got the all clear in 2006 but I still go for checks every two years and will for the rest of my life.
“I found out about the Aurora Charity when I was 11. The show was something I was keen to be a part of as I have been dancing since I was five.”
Becky is responsible for half of this year’s show choreography. She added: “A lot of hard work and dedication goes on behind the scenes to make sure everyone enjoys the show.
“It is so important. My friends say how uplifting and inspirational it is. It makes them realise what matters in life.
“Another aim is to raise money to support this amazing cancer charity, which allows patients relaxation while going through their toughest times.”
Cheerful Jacky Lynch, 51, was told she had stage two breast cancer after discovering a lump in September 2014.
She underwent a lumpectomy, then, when it was found the cancer was not eradicated, had a full mastectomy followed by six sessions of chemotherapy.
“I remember feeling numb when I was told it was cancer. I had had cysts before, and the cancer was hiding behind a cyst,” explained Jacky. “It was a surreal moment...I didn’t take much in. My partner Ross has been my rock. He helps out with Aurora and will be at the show with my mum and children.”
Jacky added: “I agreed to do the show in 2016. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. It’s so emotional. We have all got so far and although the risk remains, we are there together, and helping a great cause. When the applause starts I feel quite giddy with it all.”
Jacky could not praise the teams who oversaw her treatment in Doncaster enough. She said: “Every single one of them is amazing....so caring. I’m a positive person generally. My medication makes me tired but I do keep going.”
She added: “Ladies you must check your breasts...it is so important and if you do feel anything go and get it checked out. Don’t leave it..go!“
Seventy-five year old John Stewart of Wheatley Hills never expected to be a late-life catwalk model.
He said: “I’ve never experienced anything like it. It gives you such a boost. My confidence was on the floor last year and now it’s up on the ceiling,”
John suffered prostate cancer that spread to his lymph nodes in 2014. He said he is well looked after in Doncaster, with his condition monitored every three months.
“My cancer was found by accident when I went in hospital for a small repair,” he explained. “I do urge men to take the first step and be checked if they feel something might be wrong. Everyone is there to support you so make that move!”
Edenthorpe woman Jean Ciesnik, 59, had reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy in July 1999. She has “nothing but praise” for the Jasmine Centre staff, and this will be her eleventh show for Aurora. She has modelled everything from swimwear to evening gowns.
“These people are my extended family,” she said. “From the start, I have been treated with both care and respect.
“I came to Aurora through the Life after Breast Cancer group in Doncaster. I’ve had a good outcome and now want to put a bit back.
“This show is extremely emotional and if just one person can realise on the night that there is hope, then it’s worthwhile.
“We’re a fashion show family. We may all be on differing treatment plans but we are on the same basic journey, together.”
Cancer staff join in the fun too
It’s not only the patients, but also members of the Doncaster cancer services’ medical staff who swap their white coats for fashion and become models for two nights.
Dr Alasdair Strachan (pictured bottom left with models from last year’s show) said: “I became involved after a current cancer patient and nurse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary invited me to model in the show to support the charity.
“This will be the seventh year I have been in the show. The charity provides support for patients during the challenges of cancer therapy. As an anaesthetist I have seen the improvement in cancer care at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals and the charity provides important additional support for patients during this time too.
“The show has models who are patients and survivors of cancer. They support each other during the show and in between. I find them inspirational and I feel privileged to be part of them. At the show many families attend to support their loved ones and the atmosphere is amazingly positive.”