Pansies founder becomes catwalk queen

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A BREAST cancer survivor will take to the catwalk during a glitzy fashion show in the capital to raise awareness of the disease.

Isobel Wilson, founder of Hartlepool-based breast cancer support group The Pansies, will take part in The Breast Cancer Care Show next month.

The 65-year-old Seaton Carew resident has already had a brush with glamour, having organised charity fashion shows with members of The Pansies as models in town.

Now she is to strut her stuff in designer gear on the catwalk during an event at London’s luxurious Grosvenor House Hotel after being chosen during a casting day in the spring.

The aim of the event, which features 23 other models, is to show that people can look and feel amazing after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The mum-of-three, who also has nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, said: “I decided to take part in the fashion show because I feel breast cancer affects women of all ages and sizes.

“It would be a great place for people to share their experiences and show that life really does go on after suffering from breast cancer.

“I have always dreamed of being part of a London fashion show, so this experience is not only a wish come true but a message to all women, whatever shape or size that if I can do it, so can you.”

Seventeen Pansies members and Isobel’s relatives will be watching her take to the stage.

Isobel started raising cash for breast cancer charities in 1996 when a friend of one of her daughters was struck down by the disease.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in late 1996, Isobel was inspired to set up the Pansies group.

The group, which offers care and support to sufferers and their families and runs a drop-in session on Mondays from 10am until noon at The Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street, has raised tens of thousands of pounds to help fund equipment at various care establishments.

Isobel, who was awarded the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Hartlepool last year for her services to the town, has been a Breast Cancer Support volunteer for 12 years.

She says she gets tremendous satisfaction knowing she has supported other women suffering from breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Care chief executive Samia al Qadhi said: “Our models have such a positive attitude and desire to live life at full tilt that they are an inspiration to us all.

“I know they are all really looking forward to getting up there on the catwalk in front of their family and friends to prove that breast cancer doesn’t mean an end to celebrating life and having fun.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, October 5 and anyone wishing to sponsor Isobel can call her on (01429) 423213.