Two dozen women who have faced a cancer or haematology diagnosis will strut their stuff this summer to raise vital funds for a life-changing north-east charity.
Friends of Anchor will hold its seventh annual Courage on the Catwalk fashion shows this May, giving women the chance to get professional model training and styling – and generate crucial cash at the same time.
And the latest cohort of 24 women prepared to take to the stage has been unveiled with participants aged between 18 to 77 from all walks of life and parts of the region.
Over three glitzy events, the group will parade in front of sell-out crowds full of their loved ones and supporters – not only boosting their confidence, but the charity’s coffers as well.
Friends of Anchor has bases across the north-east and has provided funding for medical equipment, cancer research and support for patients in hospital.
All of the money raised at this year’s Courage of the Catwalk events will be spent on new equipment for the £32 million dedicated Anchor Centre, which is expected to open at Foresterhill in 2021.
Sarah-Jane Hogg, the organisation’s fundraising and development director, said it was a difficult job choosing just 24 women to help out with the shows.
She said: “We were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applications we received this year, with 64 completed submissions.
“The panel had the hard task of taking that number to 24, and getting there took seven hours of deliberation to make it to our final line-up.”
The model line-up includes NHS Grampian administrator Nicola Ross, who was nominated to take part by a family friend.
The 49-year-old from Bridge of Don spent six months in hospital with Hodgkin Lymphoma and, at one point, was left in a back brace and wheelchair as her treatment left her with two collapsed vertebrae.
She said: “My physio told me they would get me out of that wheelchair – and they did.
“Now I’m going to walk down a catwalk which is such an overwhelming thought, but I can’t wait.”
Fellow model Belva Ross said she was keen to give something back after she received the incredible support from Friends of Anchor at what she admits was a “very scary” period in her life.
She said: “The first time I went into the Anchor Unit I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was so helpful, supportive and really made me feel at ease.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting and making lots of new friends who have been in a similar position to me and hearing their stories, so we can support one another.”
Balcony tickets, which include refreshments, are available for £20 by emailing email@example.com