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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