Some of the most courageous women in Stoke have been rehearsing to take part in a performance of The Full Monty to raise money for a cancer support group.
The 14 breast cancer survivors are set to take to the stage at the Valiant Suite at Vale Park in Burslem, Stoke On Trent, on September 8th, October 6th and November 10th to an eager crowd, The Stoke Sentinel reported.
Indeed, the popularity of the production – which will see the ladies go topless for the performances – is so great that a third show was added after the first two sold out at an unprecedented speed.
The money raised will go towards The Pink Sisters, which is hoping to exceed the £5,000 it needs to become a charity. Any extra cash will go towards opening a café and drop-in centre for cancer sufferers.
Janet Stanway of Bucknall told the news provider: “The ladies will come on and do a three-and-a-half minute dance when they will get their tops off.”
She added that the evening has already been special for participants, as “this has helped the women take their mind off their treatment”.
The choreography has been set by Angela Beardmore at the Angela Beardmore School of Dance. Two of the college’s dance groups will perform for the production as well.
Ms Beardmore was quoted as saying: “These ladies are the most unbelievable people I have ever met.”
The events will also consist of a song sung by 14-year-old Madison Mackenzie about her experience when her mum went through breast cancer. There will also be an auction and a raffle for the audience to take part in.
The Pink Sisters was founded by Jackie Mackenzie, 49, after she finished her treatment four years ago. She decided to set up a support group as she said there was none for her available at the time.
There are now 102 members of The Pink Sisters, and the group meets every second Monday of the month at Our Lady and St Michael Church in Northwood. The drop-in centre and café she hopes to open will be for those who cannot attend the gatherings.
Many women in the area count on the support of The Pink Sisters, with Rachael Roberts telling the newspaper about her experience with the illness last year. She said: “Jackie came and showed me there is life after breast cancer.”
The members have also produced a calendar for £7.99 to help raise money, following on from the famous group of women in the quiet Yorkshire village of Knapley in the late 1990s who produced a nude calendar in the name of Leukaemia Research.
This story was so inspiring it was made into a movie called Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, and has gone on to become a hit musical.
Among the ladies who are taking their clothes off for The Full Monty performances, which start next month, are those who have had part or full mastectomies, with some also having had reconstruction surgery.
Fifty-year-old Debbie Lewington, who has battled breast cancer twice and now has terminal ovarian cancer, told Stoke Sentinel: “I have already lost my boobs. I am the only one doing the Full Monty who has had a double mastectomy and no reconstruction so they will be getting a flash of my scars.”
Those who are searching for mastectomy clothing, such as breast cancer swimsuits, can take a look at some great ones we have at Brave Ladies.