Meet the women who beat cancer…and are now about to become burlesque stars #Manchester Evening News Article By Sam Yarwood
Olivia Cork lost a leg to cancer and Michelle Ross had a double masectomy – now both will perform burlesque at the Maggie’s on the Runway event
A teenager who lost her leg to cancer and a mum-of-two who posted pix of her surgery scars will put on a saucy show to raise money for cancer.
Olivia Cork, 19, and Michelle Ross, 31, have been learning the art of burlesque ahead for a charity event on June 11.
The pair – who have both survived cancer – will perform alongside entertainers from the Cirque Nightclub in aid of the new Maggie’s Centre at The Christie hospital in south Manchester.
Olivia, from Alsager, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer aged just 14-years-old and underwent intense chemotherapy.
Four months into her treatment she was given the devastating news that her leg would need to be amputated above the knee.
Andy Cork – Lumi Studios Maggie’s on the Runway models Olivia Cork, 19, who lost her leg to the disease, and Michelle Ross, 30, who underwent a double mastectomy, will join burlesque dancers from Cirque Nightclub
She said: “Unfortunately this was the only option, without this I would have not been here today. I went into a state of not knowing what my future would look like, I didn’t know whether walking was an option.”
“Having my leg amputated sometimes leaves me with a feeling that I may not be seen as sexy, so with that in mind I’m here to prove that my cancer treatment certainly didn’t rob me of my femininity or my sexuality.
“So now, after weeks of rehearsals, here I am, ecstatic to get up on stage.”
And mum Michelle, who lives in Wigan, underwent a double mastectomy when she was 25 after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
Last year, she made the brave decision to raise awareness of the procedure by posting images of her scars from her surgery and radiotherapy on Facebook which were shared thousands of times.
She says losing her breasts felt like she’d lost a huge part of her, and that taking part in the burlesque shows how far she has come since 2011.
Michelle said: “Having breast cancer doesn’t make me any less of a woman.
“I don’t want to be the girl who hides away ashamed of her body, I want to be the one who will be proud of what I’ve achieved when I get on the stage to do burlesque for Maggie’s on the Runway.”
The pair will channel their inner Dita von Teese being through their paces by Manchester-based Irene Kinsella, owner and director of Cirque Nightclub who said you would never have known the journey they’ve been on.
Margo Cornish, who woman behind the Maggie’s on the Runway event, added: “This is the perfect opportunity to prove that women who have had to undergo gruelling cancer treatment can still feel proud of their bodies. It’s all about attitude. I can’t wait to watch them sparkle doing their burlesque routine.”
Margo wanted to thank photographer Andy Cork from Lumi Studios, hairdresser Jamie Lynn and make-up artists Nicole Blisset and Aiofe Lyons for their help.
Michelle and Olivia will join 50 other models affected by cancer on the catwalk for the event at Manchester Airport’s Runway Visitor Centre which will also see a performance from eighties star Rick Astley.
For tickets to Maggie’s on the Runway, visit www.maggiesontherunway.com .