To her friends and family Avril Mathieson is an inspiration; somebody whose positive outlook on life can’t help but rub off on other people.
But she doesn’t really view matters from that perspective.
Instead, in her own words, she is simply a ‘tough old bird who just gets on with it’.
Mrs Mathieson’s refreshingly down-to-earth attitude has kept her strong through the travails of three cancer diagnoses during the last decade.
And she will demonstrate her resilience when she appears in Courage on the Catwalk along with 23 other women at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen on May 12 and 13.
The first diagnosis came in 2008, when she was 43 and had recently married her husband Davie.
The pair were on holiday in Bulgaria when Mrs Mathieson was getting ready to go out and suddenly noticed something looked “not quite right”.
When she arrived back in her home town of Crimond she mentioned the lump to her GP who immediately referred her to hospital for emergency tests.
As she says: “When you go back into the room and there are two medical professionals there rather than just one, you know something big is coming”.
Mrs Mathieson was told she had a tumour in her breast and said it was “a total shock”.
After going through a mastectomy and experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy she admitted she had been left devastated.
She said: “In terms of body image, boobs and hair are two of the most important things to a lot of women. I lost my hair and one of my breasts.”
It wasn’t the last time she lost her hair, because two further diagnoses followed in the years ahead.
During a routine follow-up appointment in 2015, blood tests revealed the cancer was back and this time had spread to her liver.
Once again, she had to go through chemotherapy and endure the side effects. She relinquished hair for a third time more recently, when several lesions on her brain were discovered and a course of full-brain radiotherapy was required.
She said: “I was never unwell during my treatment, but the emotional side of things really kicks in and there is a knock-on effect on the whole family.
“Davie has been my rock throughout everything that has happened and is with me every time I walk through the hospital doors.
“We had only been married for four months when the first diagnosis was delivered and it’s not the start to married life that you expect.”
In the past few years, the couple have fully embraced time to themselves and do their best to take holidays abroad at least twice a year, storing up memories and soaking up the sun in Bulgaria.
Mrs Mathieson is still receiving treatment in the Anchor Unit, whose staff she described as being “worth their weight in gold”.
She added: “The unit and the work Friends of Anchor do is absolutely fantastic.
“Every experience I have had has been so positive and for a place that can be very scary initially the staff put you right at ease and are always there to answer questions.
“Little things they supply, like moisturising cream, thermometers, lap trays…it might sound daft, but they become so important when you are receiving treatment.
“By taking part in Courage on the Catwalk, I want to give something back to Friends of Anchor and make people more aware of the work they do.
“The spectrum is so much wider than just what you see on the wards; the research they are helping to fund is so important and it makes life-changing differences to people’s lives and the fight for a cure.”