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Year 2009

Cancer Survivors Hit the Catwalk as Role Models

25 October 2009
By Mariam M. Al Serkal
Dubai, UAE

Fashion show focuses on early detection of disease
Cancer survivors take their message to the ramp during a breast cancer awareness event at the BurJuman Centre on Friday Cancer survivors take their message to the ramp during a breast cancer awareness event at the BurJuman Centre on Friday
Twelve breast cancer survivors from different walks of life celebrated their success in the fight against the dreaded disease by walking the ramp at the sixth annual Survivor’s Fashion Show held at the BurJuman Centre on Friday.

Radiating strength and confidence, the 12 role models hit the runway to spread awareness about the need for regular breast examinations.

“Many people do not know that men can get it as well and there should be more awareness about men doing self–examinations,” said Peter Miller, 61, a breast cancer survivor.

Miller was diagnosed with the cancer 21 years ago when he was back home in Australia, and said that the doctors told him that he would only have six months to live.

“I found out I had breast cancer after a game of golf, and I noticed that my nipple was large and itchy. A couple of days later I did a biopsy and then I was kept in hospital to have my breast removed. I was only recently married at the time and the news were earth shattering for the family. But I went in there and I beat it. I am a real survivor.”

Sneha Pradeep, from India, was diagnosed in 2005 with Stage–2 cancer and it took her almost a year to recover. “I discovered it by accident. I was reading a book and dozed off, and when I woke up my hand was on my chest and I felt a lump.”

Sneha, a mother herself, says breast cancer patients should keep their children in the loop. “You should prepare your children before they see you in the hospital, so that they can understand what is going on. Breast cancer is not an end, and people battling cancer should know that the way you look at it makes a big difference. If you stay strong you can overcome it.”

Radha Balan, 58, was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and, throughout her sessions of chemotherapy and radiation, she continued to go to work.

“My boss said that I should stay at home and rest, but I did not want to be miserable and think about the cancer all day long. I would go to work with a scarf on my head, or sometimes wear a wig. It took me almost three years to lead a normal life.”

Lilian Colge, 45, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2003. “The moment my husband and I saw the doctor’s face, it told us the story and we knew something was terribly wrong. My husband was in shock.”

Lilian stayed positive throughout and insisted on doing the chemotherapy in Dubai because she did not want her children’s schooling to get affected.

“I was self–diagnosed and caught the cancer when it was in its early stages and had surgery to remove the lump. It is important to learn how to check yourself and to be safe, so that you can detect it early enough.”

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