A cancer survivor from Lytham is set to strut her stuff on the catwalk.
And Liz Gooderham hopes she can encourage other women to be aware and to check their breasts regularly.
The 43-year-old nurse has lived through breast cancer twice, and is confident taking part in the annual Breast Cancer Care Show next month will help her move on, after the second shock diagnosis.
She will be one of 32 models appearing at the charity event at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on October 7.
Mum-of-two Liz was first diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2007, after noticing a lump while at a friend’s house.
She said: “I work as a nurse and so did my friend, I got her to look at the lump and she said I should get it checked.
“I went to my GP, who referred me immediately to the breast clinic.
“Initially, they thought it was a cyst, but a biopsy revealed an aggressive cancer. I had a mastectomy and six weeks later started chemo.
“I think being a nurse sometimes made it worse, as I know all the worse-case scenarios.
“I was worried I would not live to see my kids grow up – at the time, my son was four and my daughter two-and-a-half, also my grandmother and great-grandmother both died from cancer – so you do panic.”
Liz was given the all-clear following treatment and she started 2008 looking forward to her future.
Sadly, in October 2009, Liz’s mum was recalled after a routine mammogram, and tests confirmed she had breast cancer. Then, two weeks later, Liz was checking her own breasts – when she found another lump.
“I had just secured my dream job and was ready to face mum’s fight, when I got the news my breast cancer had come back.
“Mum and I ended up in hospital at the same time. I had a mastectomy, while mum had a lumpectomy. We had our surgery a day apart and were put in beds next to each other, while recovering on the ward, we laughed because it made visiting times easier for our family and friends.
“It was at this time the hospital suggested our family may carry the faulty BRCA gene. Both mum and I tested positive for the BRCA1 fault, and we believe my grandmother may have actually had ovarian cancer, which spread and became bowel cancer.”
Because of the discovery, Liz opted for preventative surgery and made the difficult decision to have her ovaries removed – meaning she could not have more children.
“Life is like a jigsaw and my picture showed me as a woman, wife, daughter, mother and friend. Being diagnosed with cancer was like someone coming along and throwing the jigsaw in the air and pieces scattering.
“After my first diagnosis, I was beginning to put the pieces back together – however with mum’s diagnosis and my second, the pieces were scattered far and wide, and it’s taken me much longer to put my self back together.”
Six years on, Liz feels she is almost there, and being a model in the Breast Cancer Care Show will be a final piece of the puzzle.
The celeb-filled event is now in its 19th year and launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
To book a ticket to support Liz, call 0345 092 0806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org