Famous faces pose with members of public to mark Macmillan fundraiser

Poignant portraits of cancer pain: Famous faces pose with members of the public to mark Macmillan fundraiser

  • A series of photos show celebrities and ordinary people impacted by cancer
  • The portraits mark Macmillan’s annual Coffee Morning on September 30
  • Number of people living with cancer in the UK is set hit four million by 2030

United by their experiences of cancer, celebrities and ordinary people have posed for a series of poignant portraits.

Journalist George Alagiah, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014, is among those to have taken part in the series for charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

He was pictured with personal trainer Mary Huckle, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in the same year.

Actress Sheridan Smith, who has lost loved ones to the illness, was also photographed alongside nurse Suad Ibrahim whose father died from cancer.

The series was shot by Rankin, who has previously photographed the Queen and Kate Moss, to mark the return of Macmillan’s fundraising event Coffee Morning.

Mr Alagiah said: ‘People always ask me how I cope and it’s the hardest question.

‘The challenge at first was getting my cancer diagnosis straight in my head. Despite having so much going for me, a successful career and a loving family, here I was just being told I was dying.

‘I wish I had known sooner just how much support Macmillan could have offered me throughout this whole experience, but I thought I had to be at the end of my life to ask for it.’

Journalist George Alagiah (left) was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014, personal trainer Mary Huckle (right) was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in the same year

TV and theatre actor Sheridan Smith (right) met with Manchester-based nurse Suad Ibrahim (left), both have lost a loved one to cancer

Ms Huckle said: ‘One of the worst things about a cancer diagnosis was having to break the news to my loved ones. The ripple effects are always far reaching and just as traumatic for them. Many lonely, sleepless nights ensued.’

Miss Smith added: ‘Connecting with others who have been touched by cancer can really help you to feel less alone.

‘Macmillan’s Coffee Morning is the perfect space to do that.’

This is Going to Hurt and Fleabag actor Kadiff Kirwan, who lost his mother to cancer, also sat for Rankin alongside former primary school teacher Chloe Dixon.

Award-winning podcast host and cancer campaigner Lauren Mahon was photographed with Shell Rowe, a 23-year-old filmmaker and TikTok star who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2019.

Ms Mahon, 37, who hosted You, Me and the Big C with Dame Deborah James and Rachael Bland who both later died from cancer, said: ‘When I got diagnosed, one thing that completely floored me was money. For some reason I thought – which I think is quite normal – that I would be looked after, that there’d be Government funding, or support I could apply for.

‘I didn’t realise it would be statutory sick pay. I’d moved out my parents’ house before I received my diagnosis and I couldn’t even afford to pay my rent in London – my friends had to fundraise just to keep me in my home.’

Actor Kadiff Kirwan, who lost his mother to cancer, sat alongside former primary school teacher Chloe Dixon who was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2018

Award-winning podcast host and cancer campaigner Lauren Mahon was photographed with Shell Rowe, a 23-year-old filmmaker and TikTok star who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2019

Earlier this month, leaked figures revealed that more than 10,000 people were still waiting for treatment three months or more after being referred for suspected cancer.

At the end of July, the backlog of those who had waited 104 days or longer stood at 10,189, more than double the figure for June 2021, according to internal NHS data.

The total number of people who have started cancer treatment in England since the start of the pandemic is still more than 30,000 lower than expected – a figure that has barely changed for months, according to analysis by Macmillan.

Claire Rowney, executive director of fundraising, marketing and innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘This year, the vital funds raised through Coffee Morning will be more important than ever. The number of people living with cancer in the UK is unprecedented and with figures set to grow to four million by 2030, our services are becoming a vital lifeline for many.

‘We rely on the generous donations from our incredible supporters for 98 per cent of our income and, as it stands, we’re simply not able to support everybody who needs us.

‘A cancer diagnosis can be incredibly frightening and for many people with cancer, times are tougher now than they have ever been, with ongoing disruption to care and treatment, the rising cost of living, and everything else a diagnosis brings. Macmillan offers a much-needed safety net for people when they simply don’t know where to turn.’

The charity is urging the public to sign up to host a Coffee Morning, which takes place on September 30 and brings people together to raise vital funds.

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