Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you a true inspiration. Last year my lovely friend Shiv was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. You don’t expect to hear a diagnosis of cancer in your 30s, but Shiv quite literally laughed in cancer’s face by dressing up to attend her gruelling chemo sessions and posting the hilarious results on twitter and facebook to keep herself, nurses & friends amused.
Having successfully beaten cancer Shiv is now planning to cycle 100 miles (yes, 100 miles!) to fundraise for 3 very special charities, and is accepting dressing up requests in return for sponsorship.
What inspired the Lady of Many Faces?
I didn’t set out with a plan to do the lady of many faces. The first time I messed about dressing up was just after I’d had my hair cut short before chemo treatment last June. I didn’t recognise myself but instead of feeling down about it I thought I’d have some fun. Then it sort of carried on through treatment, what with wearing crazy hats and headgear to my appointments. It certainly got me remembered. The resurrection of the idea was through a Facebook chat when someone reposted one of my dressing up photos from last year to help promote my cycle challenge. I said I would do this again for money and the rest is hashtag history!
Do you have a personal favourite?
Personal favourite, well I do have to say I like the hulks – Hogan and Incredible. But I also really enjoyed Morrissey last year. Perhaps a Smiths tribute band needs me? (Worryingly I seem to look better as a man than a woman.)
Are you accepting requests from strangers who want to support the good cause?
I would happily accept more requests for donations from anyone and if I can do it I will. I’d be particularly made up if one of the people I’d dressed up as would sponsor me!
Why 100 mile challenge?
The cycling is as I got back into it after a 20 year break last year. The fact I could just about manage 6 miles when in treatment whereas now I can even consider 100 miles feels great. Fitness has been so important to me both in getting through and getting on. I love whizzing along the coast on my bike. I’m even growing to love Spin classes, though sometimes when it’s freezing outside and you’re starting at 7am, the enthusiasm is a little less!
Tell us a bit about your chosen charities.
The three charities are all really important to me. Firstly, I’m supporting Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. I had hodkgin’s lymphoma and the stark truth is had my Mum had the same cancer when she was my age, there was no cure. It really pulls you up short to think like that. Every year, 30,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with a blood cancer and more research is vital, to help more people to survive.
Macmillan were great in supporting me practically and emotionally, particularly after treatment ended and I started to readjust. They are trying to help build a new cancer centre in Sussex and anything I can do to help is great.
And finally St Catherine’s Hospice. I have worked as the Communications Manager for them, but more than that, hospice care has touched my life so often and it’s incredible. For all those people who never get to hear the good news I did, I wanted to support the people that support them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that noone’s life remains completely untouched by cancer. Everyone knows someone who is dealing or has dealt with cancer. This, folks, is a truly good cause, and it takes mere moments to donate. You can simply text MEAK99 £2 to 70070.