Emi Lou, 38, and Hayley, 40 are joined by five other inspirational women who have also been affected by breast cancer: Lesley Stephen (51), Helen Peedell (52), Katie Hughes (33), Laura Otrofanowei (32) and Heather Shekede (43).
During October, M&S will donate 20 per cent of pink bra sales to Breast Cancer Now to help fund lifesaving research. All seven women were invited by M&S to take part in the campaign, with each woman modelling one of the pink bras which will donate to the charity. Their images will be used across UK stores and the M&S website and social media channels to promote the campaign.
To kick-start the campaign, the women have drawn on their own personal experiences to create a short film entitled Love, Laughter, Life and Breast Cancer: In Our Words. The 60 second video curates the words of each of the women use to describe their individual attitudes and approach to a life affected by breast cancer – focusing on the experiences, people and things that matter to them.
Emi Lou and Hayley both know from personal experience the importance of research into preventing and treating breast cancer. Emi Lou was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and went through chemotherapy and a mastectomy, followed by a second mastectomy. Hayley found a lump in her right breast in January this year during one of her regular self-checks. After thinking it was just a cyst, she was told it was breast cancer. She has just completed her chemotherapy and is currently undergoing radiotherapy.
Emi Lou said:
“I couldn’t be prouder to be working with Breast Cancer Now and M&S this October. When I was first diagnosed, there was a lot of fear about the future and about my body. What I learnt was that my body was going to support me a lot more than it would let me down. If somebody had told me that following treatment and surgery I’d be modelling for M&S in my undies I would never have believed them – there have been many unexpected positives to this ride.
“Since my diagnosis, I have been passionate about accepting and nurturing my body and I feel I have a duty to share that with others, not just those undergoing physically changing experiences such as breast cancer, but everyone. So for me, getting involved in this campaign feeds my fundraising goals as I can support such a worthwhile charity Breast Cancer Now, but I hope it also gives people hope and a new message that you’re good enough, as you are, right now.
“The experience has been utterly surreal and I’m still not convinced it’s happening. I have loved every minute!”
“I wanted to be involved with this campaign to represent the younger women who are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis. After hearing the words ‘it’s cancer’, you imagine that everything has to stop and your life is over but primary breast cancer is very well treated. There are lots of options available to carry on living your life as best as you can – I used a cold cap to keep things as normal as possible for my two daughters so that they didn’t have to see me lose my hair.
“I feel very strongly about the need for further research into breast cancer, and I know all too well how research and access to new drugs can extend lives and reduce reoccurrence. It is so important for us to invest in vital research that means in the future nobody will die from breast cancer. Having two girls’ means this is particularly important to me as I want to safeguard their future.”
The money raised will contribute to M&S’ ongoing goal to raise £13 million for Breast Cancer Now over five years, with the aim of helping to prevent 9,000 cases of breast cancer a year by 2025.
Meaghan Annear, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We are so thrilled that these seven incredible and inspiring women – Helen, Heather, Laura, Hayley, Katie, Lesley and Emi Lou – have come together for this years’ M&S Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign, sharing their personal experiences of breast cancer, helping to raise awareness of and money for Breast Cancer Now’s lifesaving research.
“We are very grateful to M&S and its customers for their continued support in raising vital funds for Breast Cancer Now, which enables our scientists to take that all-important next step to ultimately start preventing breast cancer, sparing women and their loved ones the fear and uncertainty breast cancer can bring.
“We hope women across the UK will head in-store or online to support our vital research and purchase a pink bra this October.”
Jo Jenkins, Director of Womenswear, Lingerie and Beauty at M&S said:
“The words of these seven magnificent women are truly inspirational. However, we want this campaign to have a direct impact on the fight against breast cancer and hopefully, prevent other women from having to undergo similar experiences. We know this is a cause that matters deeply to our customers and colleagues– and together we want to continue to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Now’s incredible lifesaving research.”
The money raised from the campaign will help fund Breast Cancer Now’s scientific research to better understand the risk factors associated with breast cancer. It is hoped this will lead to the development of a risk assessment tool that ultimately will better inform women of the options available to them based on their personal risk of breast cancer in the future and allow them to act to reduce that risk.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and today alone more than 30 women will die from the disease.
Emi Lou and Hayley are supporting Breast Cancer Now and M&S. This October, M&S will donate 20% of pink bra sales to Breast Cancer Now to help fund lifesaving research. Visit www.breastcancernow.org for more information, and shop the pink bras online at www.marksandspencer.com/l/lingerie/breast-cancer-now/breast-cancer-now-pink-bras.
About Breast Cancer Now:
- Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity.
- Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live. The charity is determined to stop women dying from the disease, working in a new, collaborative way and bringing together all those affected by breast cancer to fund research, share knowledge and find answers.
- Breast Cancer Now’s world-class research is focused entirely on breast cancer. The charity supports nearly 400 of the world’s brightest researchers at more than 30 locations across the UK and Ireland. Together, they’re working to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage so we can stop the disease taking lives.
- Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in the UK. Nearly 700,000 people living in the UK have experienced a diagnosis and one in eight women will face it in their lifetime. This year alone, more than 50,000 women will be told they have the disease.
- The UK still has one of the lowest breast cancer survival rates in Western Europe and this year alone around 11,500 women and 80 men will lose their lives. It’s time to act.
- Breast Cancer Now launched in June 2015, created by the merger of leading research charities Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
- For more information on Breast Cancer Now’s work, visit org or follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.