In a year where we’ve become accustomed to seeing statistics, we tend to forget that every number and percentage represents a person. A human life. With friends. With families. With lifetimes of memories. And of course, with pet peeves.
For far too long big charities and brands have used our stories for trauma porn profits, discarding us when finished exploiting our scars and vulnerabilities. Labels that don’t match up with our lived reality are thrust onto us against our will. Cancer ends up looking like a one-size-fits-all. With 1 in 2 of us getting cancer in our lifetime and over 200 types of the disease, how can that possible? Answer – it’s fucking not.
GIRLvsCANCER ain’t havin’ it mate.
Every cancer experience is valid and all lives are touched by it. ALL of those lives – valuable.
So we gathered four of our cancer community, some of the super-ist humans on the block. For a small but mighty oh-so-mighty shoot to flaunt their superpower aka what makes them, ‘them’.
Say hello to the humans behind the stats!
Hatti Gayner (she/her).
Diagnosis: Breast Cancer.
Superpower: Twinkle Toes.
Hatti discovered her Twinkle Toes superpower at a young age. With years of training behind her, dance is more than a hobby: it’s her life’s passion and profession. You might even recognise her beaut face from BBC’s ‘The Greatest Dancer’, where she was a finalist for Team Cheryl. Give her a spotlight, she’s a star! And nothing is going to dull her shine, not even her recent run-in breast cancer.
Our girl thought cancer was a life sentence but it was her diagnosis that made her realise it wasn’t all doom and gloom. She could still be happy even with a tit tumour on board, and dance sparks joy for our twinkle toes.
Doesn’t matter whether it’s choreographed or freestyle, dancing gives Hatti an emotional release, allowing her to let off steam and creating endorphins that provide her with some mental health TLC. Definitely needed when doing cancer during Rona’s hold on the globe!
Maintaining her power to dance and move along to the rhythm while chemotherapy puts her bod through the wringer, has revealed to Hatti just how powerful she is. We can’t wait to see her storm the stage again soon.
Want to stay in touch? You can find Hatti at:
“It’s me and it’s you. It’s everybody! There is no stigmatism, there is no one person that you could look at and be like ‘they are cancer’. It’s everyone around us, it’s girls, it’s boys, it’s every gender, it’s young, it’s old, it’s whoever.”
Anisha Sadler (she/ her).
Diagnosis: Rectal Cancer
Superpower: Healing Hands.
Anisha put in the graft to nurture her Healing Hands from day dot, but her routine of using those awesome abilities in the community came grinding to a halt. We can blame Rectal cancer for that! The doctor became the patient, the healer needed healing herself. But the disease didn’t destroy her superpower, instead they evolved.
Joining the Big C crew didn’t only do a 180 on how Anisha saw patients with cancer, but how she cared for them too. She was one of them now, she understood their ups and knew their downs. No medical degree or observation placement can teach that connection. Personalising care became more important than ever.
Inspired by our angel, Saima Thompson, standing tall as a young, Asian, Female doctor to remind everyone that cancer will try it with anyone. And we stand with her.
Anisha isn’t the only person with healing powers; our NHS is full of other doctors, surgeons and nurses that share in that privilege. Something Anisha is grateful beyond measure for. It was their Healing Hands that healed her, after all.
Want to stay in touch? You can find Anisha at:
“I’ve been on the other end of those healing superpowers so I know it’s an amazing superpower to have and I’m grateful to everyone who healed me too.”
Della Ogunleye (she/ her).
Diagnosis: Ovarian Cancer & Breast Cancer.
Superpower: Force Of Nature.
With a flash of her beaming smile, there’s no denying that Della truly is a Force of Nature. She brings light to even the darkest and rainiest of days- or a topic like cancer.
Della’s first diagnosis with breast cancer came as a shock. She had never seen anybody that looked like her with cancer in real life, awareness campaigns or the media: they were all white, they were all bald and they were all depressed. She wasn’t that person. And she sure as hell didn’t want to be that person! More than anything, Della wanted to be just that- Della. So she took matters into her own hands!
To change the face of cancer and raise awareness in African communities, she became a Patient Representative in her local NHS Trust and even travelled to Nigeria to take the taboo out of cancer by speaking about her experience publicly. With her infectious energy, Della is an invaluable member of the Black Women Rising sisterhood using her superpower to support their community.
Not even finding out that she had ovarian cancer in 2019 could dull her passion for life. There truly is no one like our gal, Della.
Want to stay in touch? You can find Della at:
“It’s frightening, it’s scary but you are you. I am Della. I am not cancer… It’s not about cancer now, it’s about me.”
Diagnosis: Cervical Cancer.
Don’t let the name fool you: between selling out venues at Edinburgh Fringe and squashing gynaecological taboos, our Karen is far from ‘a Karen’.
Back in the day, she thought cancer didn’t happen to someone before retirement but proved herself wrong on that one when she was hit with cervical cancer. A year later, she was in front of a live audience making the room roar with laughter about her time with malignant cells. And that’s exactly how she wants to tell her story- with comedy.
No “I’m so brave and inspirational” chatter at Karen’s shows; she was amazing before cancer, amazing during cancer and after cancer. The latter we can vouch for, for sure. Not only does she put maniacal grins on people’s faces with her laughter superpowers, Karen also takes down misogynistic stereotypes about cancer found down south of the waistband. Yes, mate!
Owning her experience, reclaiming her power and educating the masses- we love to see it!
Want to stay in touch? You can find Karen at:
“I just had cancer! I was amazing before and I’m amazing after. I’m not amazing, incredible or wonderful because I had this disease.”
have you seen the merch to support the Super Campaign yet? It’s SUPER gorge. Four organic cotton pieces emblazoned in superhero style designs that will have you feeling both cosy and kick-ass. PLUS 20% will be donated to new digital peer-to-peer support charity Alike.
Available on pre-order only until 14th Feb 2021.