2 October 2009

Cancer, Fashion and Rings

This is my best friend Amanda. This beautiful photograph is of Amanda on her wedding day in 2005.

A few weeks after the wedding Amanda rang me. I knew she had found a lump in her breast. I knew she was going for a mammogram and a biopsy. I didn't imagine for one moment that it would be anything serious. I was waiting for her call. In the tiniest voice I've ever heard she told me 'I've got cancer'.

I'm afraid I was incapable of keeping a stiff upper lip. I wailed and cried with her. I shouted 'it's not fair'.

Amanda was just 36. Her children were only 11 and 7 years old.

Amanda had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She was very sick. She lost her hair.

She never stopped battling and she beat it. I'm so proud of her.

A couple of weeks after her major reconstruction surgery, in October 2006, we went to the Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show. Here we are about to get into the limo:

Amanda is second left, with her newly grown hair. I'm third from the right.

We had an amazing night at the Grosvenor House Hotel. It was great fun celeb-spotting. We saw Cherie Blair, Natasha Kaplinsky, Duncan From Blue and Geri Halliwell among others. There were goody bags and Swarovski crystals in the carpet.

The fashion show was one of the most moving things I've ever seen. All the models (male and female) have had breast cancer. My hands were bruised from clapping.

There was a charity auction. As Amanda recalls, she nipped to the loo and when she got back I was bidding. I outbid Kenny Goss (George Michael's partner) and won the Romantic Lot.

Yes, I had been drinking! I was also celebrating getting engaged to Andy a few days before.

I won't say what my winning bid was, but I had to raise my credit card limit to make the payment.

The Romantic Lot was a weekend in a luxury hotel (only 20 miles from home), a hire car (forgot to claim this bit of the lot) and the chance to spend the weekend at the Jon Dibben Jewellery workshop, with a £2000 voucher to spend at Jon's shop.

We had the most amazing time. Jon and his team made us so welcome. They even said they were happy we had won instead of Kenny Goss! Andy and I made, from scratch, a silver ring each, mounted with a tiny blue diamond. We also chose my engagement ring and our wedding rings. We spent time with the goldsmiths who made them. This makes our rings even more special.

Engagement and wedding rings by Jon Dibben of Guildford Surrey

We haven't been to the fashion show since 2006 for one reason (having Presley in 2007) or another (having Cash in 2008), but we are going this year.

I'm delighted to say that Amanda has been chosen to be a model at the 2009 Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show. I can't wait to see her on the catwalk. I will be taking my camera and a whole box of tissues. I'll report back next week and let you know how we get on.

This year however I won't drink quite so much champagne and I'll be leaving my credit card at home!



  1. What a lovely post. I'm so glad your friend recovered.

    Oddly I've just contacted Breast Cancer Care earlier today as I'm writing a post about Breast Cancer Awareness month.

    Those rings are beautiful.


  2. This post brough tears to my eyes. It is hard to believe how many people have been touched by Breast Cancer. Your friend is so lucky to have someone to walk with her on her journey. I am going to be a guest blogger at Bah! to cancer http://bahtocancer.blogspot.com/ next week, you will be able to read my story then.

  3. Your post today has really touched me. Well done to you for supporting your friend so perfectly. I lost my Nan a couple of months ago to cancer she dies 10 days after being diagnosed.
    Your rings are fabulous bye the way.
    Much love an blessing to you and your friend...in fact while I'm here blessings to all surviving cancer and people that have lost loved ones too.

  4. I loved your post Sandy. It is so hopeful and encouraging.

    My mum is a cancer survivor. She overcame a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She was even a patient of a hospice for a while. Eleven years later, my wonderful mother is still alive. It's all about attitude, isn't it? If you take it lying down, you've had it!!

  5. Wonderful story.

    And I love the rings.

  6. Lovely post, lovely rings and lovely beyond lovely to have such friendship

  7. I want to send you and your friend a big hug. This is a lovely post. I lost my mum to breast cancer so I'm always happy to learn of survivors.

  8. Your friend's story is an inspirational one.
    This is something that has affected many of us.
    Thank you for sharing.
    xx jo

  9. Well done to Amanda for beating cancer. Absolutely fantastic news.

    Beautiful rings. Ah, how lovely.


  10. Another lovely post, I am so glad it has a happy ending. My Mum had breast cancer and survived, isn't it so sad that most people know someone who has? The fashion show sounds amazing and those rings are just beautiful.

    I have tagged you over at mine. http://youfoundkelshidingplace.blogspot.com/2009/10/name-game.html

  11. Your friend is beautiful and your tribute to her and Breast Cancer awareness is beautiful too.

  12. Gosh Sandy - what a story. I'm so pleased that Amanda made a full recovery - what a relief for you all. Have a fantatsic time at the show this year - and hey, I love the blonde hair on you! xx

  13. A lovely post and so positive. Looking forward to seeing the pics of this year's fashion show.

  14. Insomniac Mummy, thank you. Yes, it's a relief that she got through it.

    The Mad House, I've followed Bah! so I'll be able to read your guest post.

    Straw76berry, I'm so sorry for your loss, that must have been such a shock x

    Gaelikaa, thank you and that's fabulous to hear about your mother :-)

    Mwa, thanks :-)

    Zooarchaeologist, thank you :-)

    BNM, I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. Sending you a hug back x

    Jo, thank you. Amanda is an amazing person x

    RM, Thank you x

    Kelly, thanks. So glad to hear your mum got through it too x

    Maria, thank you x

    Emily, thanks, I'm so excited to be going again. Ah, the blonde... it was to cover the grey (I know you know all about that)! I've only been dark since before last Xmas. It's easier and cheaper to maintain, but I'm still not sure I like it! x

    Hot Cross Mum, thanks. You can expect a post later in the week. I just wish my camera was smaller, it won't fit in my teeny tiny evening bag. I'll have to hide it under my wrap! x

  15. That was such a great story. I am so glad your friend made such a great recovery that she is now going to be a model. I hope you have a fantastic night out.

  16. World of a Mummy, thank you. I can't wait to see her on that catwalk :-)

  17. What an amazing friend you have. What an amazing friend you are. Have fun at the event.

  18. Amy, she is amazing, I feel quite inadequate! We had a great time thanks x

  19. What a lovely post..she is amazing person....i am so glad that you have a very nice friend....have a great time..

    Elizabeth Wilcox

  20. Elizabeth, thank you, we had a wonderful time.

  21. Well done to you for supporting your friend so perfectly. I lost my Nan a couple of months ago to cancer she dies 10 days after being diagnosed.
    Your rings are fabulous bye the way.


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