Taverham woman takes to the catwalk for cancer
A young woman who has courageously battled cancer for more than four years will become a catwalk model for the day to help a charity attempt to raise over half a million pounds.
Alex Symington, 28, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 24 and then later discovered that she had secondary tumours on her lungs and sternum.
Next month, she will take to the catwalk and model at the Breast Cancer Care's London fashion show.
Mrs Symington, who lives in Taverham with her husband Ben, was selected from thousands of entrants to take part in the annual fashion show.
She said: 'The show will be a chance to say I'm still here, living with it, living life to the full and still feeling feminine.
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'I started my third round of chemotherapy in July. I should be fine for the show. The adrenaline will get me through; I have high energy levels.'
She has kept fit for the show by riding her horse Ronaldo and walking her Patterdale cross border terrier, Poppy, who was a treat after her second dose of chemotherapy.
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Mrs Symington, who works as an occupational therapist helping adults with learning difficulties, said: 'The fashion show will include themes such as 1970s. I love that I have this opportunity, it's going to be amazing. It will be nice to go out there and wear something different like high-waisted trousers. I'm so excited - I'm really looking forward to it.'
She is not sure whether or not to wear a wig as she struts down the catwalk.
Mrs Symington will be having chemotherapy 10 days before the show on October 5.
She applied to take part in the event in January after hearing about it through her friend Rachel Lane, who took part in the fashion show last year. She found out she had been selected in April. The models will be styled by fashion expert Hilary Alexander.
'I met her earlier in the year. She was at the casting and was putting us all in groups; she's a really nice lady. The show happens every year in London and will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in Park Lane. There are 24 of us and two are men. We are doing two shows, one at lunchtime and one in the evening. I am hoping it will make people realise that you can get cancer when you're so young. You can carry on and it's not the end of the world. They tell you there's no cure, all they can do is slow the growth, but I am feeling fine and fighting strong. I try to keep a positive mental attitude – you have to,' she said.
The shows aim to raise at least �500,000 to support the 50,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.
Mrs Symington will be supported be her family and friends from Younger Women's Group, a Norwich-based cancer support group which she helps to run.
'We realised there was a hole in the market that people were younger and had children. Some people can't meet up during the day. We are a similar age from 20 to 50. We meet once a month either at someone's house or at the Forum. It's just an informal get together over a glass of wine or a coffee. There's usually about 15 members and it's very worthwhile.'
Around 11 people from the support group will be at the lunchtime show.
'My husband, his parents, my mum and stepdad and dad and his girlfriend will all be at the show in the evening, along with my two best friends.'
Breast Cancer Care chief executive Samia al Qadhi said: 'Our models have such a positive attitude and a 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.'
*To book tickets to the show on October 5, call 020 7960 3554 or email email@example.com
*Are you doing something extraordinary for a charity close to your heart? Contact reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org