London catwalk awaits Chatteris woman

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A breast cancer survivor who underwent a double mastectomy will soon be walking down the catwalk at a London fashion show.

Nicola Shepherd, 50, of Chatteris, is hoping to show others that there is life after breast cancer after being chosen to take part in the prestigious show in Grosvenor House on Wednesday, October 1.

After finding a lump, she underwent her first mastectomy and full reconstruction in 2007 but elected to have her second breast removed two years later.

She will be wearing outfits designed by the likes of Stella McCartney, during the fashion show, which will be raising money for Breast Cancer Care.

Mrs Shepherd said: “I want to show that there is life after breast cancer.

“So many younger girls are being diagnosed with it and I want to show that you can move on and enjoy life.

“My family and friends have been on a journey with me over the last seven years and I want to thank them for being there.”

Mrs Shepherd went to her doctors in January 2007 after finding the lump, which she had expected to be a cyst.

But the scans revealed a 3-4cm tumour, which was later found to be malignant.

Doctors advised her to have the breast removed.

Mrs Shepherd said: “It was devastating to get the diagnosis. You just go numb.

“I had a brilliant Macmillan nurse, Lorraine Walker, who helped to put my mind at rest.”

In February 2007, she underwent a long operation at Hitchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, to remove the breast along with 29 lymphnodes and reconstruct another from muscle in her back.

She said: “I was advised to have the full masectomy as the tumour was big.

“I thought if I got rid of everything, it would reduce the chances of it coming back.”

Mrs Shepherd then had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She said: “I accepted losing my breast but losing my hair was hard.”

Two years later, Mrs Shepherd decided to have the second breast removed and reconstructed.

She said: “I was told I had ‘busy breasts’ and did not want to put my family or myself through that again.

“It was an easy decision and helped me to move on.”

She has received the all-clear.

Mrs Shepherd has been applying for five years to take part in the fashion show and received a nod earlier this year that she would be among the 22 women and two men, who would be modelling.

She will be donning four outfits for the afternoon and evening shows on October 1.

Mrs Shepherd will be supported on the day by her husband Peter along with sons, Matthew, 29, and Scott, 27, both of Chatteris.

She said: “I’m really excited but I’m sure I’ll be nervous on the day.

“I’m looking forward to meeting up with the other models and some of the stars.

“It’ll be an exhausting day – but lots of fun.”