Cherry Velvet Journal » Ovarian Cancer
Today I'm remembering a time with one of our early models, Elly Mayday. Elly was an advocate for women's health, known for battling ovarian cancer throughout her modelling career. This weekend we are joining with Forever Yours Lingerie at their event, #onehellovawoman to fulfill Elly's wish for a high tea to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
Looking back to our very first photoshoot in 2013
Amongst a group of lovely models, there was a young lady named Elly Mayday at her first-ever photoshoot as well. The location was a classic style Diner called Save On Meats. This was also the very first time we shot with Shimona Henry of Pin-Up Perfection photography.
Soon after, Elly began to model for Cherry Velvet on a regular basis. In 2014, after struggling for some time with symptoms that were not being diagnosed properly, Elly discovered she had ovarian cancer.
After Elly started her treatments with chemotherapy, she knew her hair was going to fall out, so she dyed it teal green: the colour of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon. Elly made a video for us talking about her symptoms, and the importance of being your own advocate.
Elly lost her hair shortly thereafter from the chemotherapy. As a woman who had also lost her mother to ovarian cancer, I could imagine how difficult it would be to lose her hair at 25 years old, and so I wanted to do something for Elly. I decided to take her wig shopping. Can you even imagine being 25 years old and having your hair fall out? Just that alone would be so difficult to deal with, not to mention all of the other obstacles she faced.
We received a phone call from several of her friends who were planning a fundraiser and fashion show to help Elly support herself during treatments. The event was called Strut for a Cause. They asked Cherry Velvet to help surprise Elly and to get her "event ready" to arrive at the show.
Getting her party-ready and to this event...where she was greeted by friends, supporters and TV cameras was quite tricky to pull off without her suspecting what was going on. That day, Elly did a photoshoot with Shimona Henry with the goal of getting her into hair and make-up. Elly had lost so much weight at this point I thought perhaps she wouldn't have anything to wear so I designed a dress especially for her for that night and we named it after her, The Elly dress.
It was an amazing evening of fashion and friends coming together to show their love and support.
Elly continued to pursue her career in New York as a model and worked on a campaign to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Canada among many other achievements. Sadly, Elly passed away from ovarian cancer in March of this year, at 30 years old.
Elly left her mark on myself and our business. She will never be forgotten.
XOX Diane Kennedy, designer for Cherry Velvet
Did you know that September is the awareness month for Ovarian Cancer - a much less talked about, but very serious type of women’s cancer? Unlike other more well-known types, there is no screening test for cancer of your #ladyballs. (This may be a somewhat controversial name for your ovaries, but it does require both knowledge and guts to beat this difficult to diagnose disease.)
It's important for our designer, Diane, to spread awareness, as not only did this condition take her Mom at a very young age, but her Sister-in-law as well.
You may have heard the story of one of our early models, Elly Mayday, who at the age of 25 was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer too.
We're pleased to join Forever Yours Lingerie's #Onehellvawoman High Tea and Fundraiser in honour of Elly's life and her wish to spread awareness about this difficult disease. We are proudly offering five "Dress of Your Choice" vouchers for the auction, which will raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
"Please spend a few moments learning about ovarian cancer, as discovering it early enough improves your chances to treat it effectively and survive" ~ Diane Kennedy
There is no one specific symptom for ovarian cancer, and the symptoms are generally vague and often mistakenly attributed to other causes. It’s called "the disease that whispers" or the "silent killer", as it tends to be overlooked and under-diagnosed.
Do you do a breast self-exam every month? What about going for an annual pap test? Although these simple steps could save your life, when it comes to taking care of your #ladyballs, it's not as straightforward.
We hope we’ve inspired you to catch up on any tests you haven’t taken lately, and brought attention to symptoms you should pay attention to. Please share this post with all the important women in your life so that they’ll be aware, too.
XOX Cherry Velvet
You may have heard about Ashley Luther, also known as Elly Mayday; a body positive model that, sadly, recently passed at the age of thirty. We spent a day with Elly back in 2013, shortly after her diagnosis and want to share her video message again with all of you.
Elly's message is about Ovarian cancer -a much less talked about, but a very serious type of women’s cancer. Did you know there is no screening test for cancer of your #ladyballs. This is a somewhat controversial name for your ovaries, but it does require both knowledge and guts to beat this difficult to diagnose disease.
The teal green shade of her hair represents the colour of the Ovarian cancer ribbon. These photos were all taken just before she planned to shave it all off. (due to the expectation of hair loss from Chemotherapy)
It's important to our designer, Diane, to spread awareness, as not only did she lose her Mom to Ovarian cancer at a very young age but also her Sister-in-law as well.
There is no one specific symptom for Ovarian cancer and these symptoms are generally vague/non-specific (often mistakenly attributed to other causes). It’s called ‘the disease that whispers’ for good reason: it’s often overlooked and under-diagnosed.
Do you do a breast self-exam every month? What about going for an annual pap test? These simple steps could save your life. Taking care of your #ladyballs is not as straightforward.
These are the symptoms to be aware of:
- Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
- Pelvic discomfort or heaviness
- Back or abdominal pain
- Gas, nausea, indigestion
- Change in bowel habits
- Emptying your bladder frequently
- Menstrual irregularities
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Mass or “lump” in your pelvis that you can feel
- Inability to eat normally
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
We hope we’ve inspired you to catch up on any tests you haven’t taken lately, and brought attention to ways to help spot Ovarian Cancer. Please also consider taking a moment to share this post with all the important women in your life so that they’ll be aware, too.
RIP Ashley Luther / Elly Mayday
XOX Cherry Velvet