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Model Doesn’t Let Surgery Scars and Chemo-Induced Baldness Stop Her from Working
by Kurt Doyle
Elly Mayday, a 25-year-old model who is often described in the industry as plus-size (she prefers normal-size), hasn’t let her battle with ovarian cancer stop her career. Following surgery and treatments that cost her 40 pounds and her hair, as well as giving her a scar on her stomach, Mayday is back to work. She has already done several photo shoots and been featured in a promotional campaign for sports bras made by Canadian company Forever Yours Lingerie, bald head, scar, and all.
A Rare Diagnosis
Mayday had already had ovarian issues before her cancer diagnosis, and she wasn’t exactly surprised to find out she had cancer. “I was told it was a cyst so many times, and I just knew deep down in my heart that there was something else wrong,” she told CTV News. But the surprising part to doctors was exactly what she had - serous carcinoma, a type of ovarian cancer which is usually seen in postmenopausal women.
Surgery, Treatment, and Recovery
A hysterectomy removed her cancerous ovaries and chemotherapy prevented the cancer from spreading. Months of treatments resulted in hair loss as well as weight loss. Mayday lost 40 pounds from her size-14 frame due to the chemotherapy, as well as stress and a healthier diet. As Mayday posted on Facebook, “The weight came off naturally the curves stayed.”
Getting Back to Modeling
Despite her surgical scar and the hair loss that left her head completely bald, Mayday wasn’t going to let anything keep her from modeling. “It was kind of a point of realization, either, ‘Do I stop now, or do I keep on going and be the person that I was raised to be and the person that I know I am?” she explained to CTV News. Sonya Perkins, owner of Forever Yours Lingerie, the company that currently features Mayday in a sports bra campaign, was enthusiastic to have Mayday continue to advertise her products post-cancer, telling CTV News, “There’s something about her face and body, and the way she moves exudes positivity and lightness about her.”
Mayday knows that not everyone will be as excited to work with a model in her condition. “Not everyone in the industry is going to want to work with a person that’s scarred, that has a scarred stomach. But I have a good story, and I’m trying to start something.” So far, she’s hearing positive reviews. “The reaction has been amazing. People love it. People really want to see real people,” Perkins told CTV News.
Mayday has also received plenty of support on Facebook, where she has over 80,000 fans. Many of them have sent her words of encouragement or messages about how her courage has been an inspiration to them. One woman wrote “I'm finishing up radiation after 6 months of chemo for breast cancer. We are survivors! We are warriors! Thanks for giving me just a bit more courage today, through your strength and grace.” Speaking about her newfound position as a role model, Mayday told CTV News that she hopes her example gives others the strength to be proud of their appearance, saying “I hope people are inspired to go outside with their scars and to go outside without their hair on.”