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Role model: How fashion helped a cancer survivor
Angie Morris describes herself as a “young, vibrant, beautiful, crazy-healthy professional who everyone is shocked to learn is a cancer survivor.” Now the Toronto-based lawyer and mother can add “gorgeous model” to her impressive list of accomplishments. Last fall, we invited women who had experienced cancer to enter our model search for the “Well Dressed for Spring” fashion show that the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation is holding on February 24. We were touched by everyone’s stories, but we were especially intrigued with the unexpected role that fashion played in Morris’ treatment plan.
“I dressed up for all of my cancer treatments because it made the other patients, doctors and nurses smile,” explains Morris. “I love fashion, and looking good always makes me feel powerful. So I went to every chemo and radiation treatment in my high heels and favourite dresses, and I rocked those treatments as best I could! I figured ‘I can’t do anything about what’s happening to my insides, but I can certainly ensure that my outsides look as fabulous as ever!’”
The 37-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer on July 25, 2012, while in the middle of fundraising for the annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. “Words can’t describe what it feels like to be told you have cancer,” she recalls. “For me, it was a life-changing moment; my head was filled with a million thoughts and concerns for others and at the same time absolute clarity of my own personal mission, which was to beat this disease and survive.”
Morris underwent a radical hysterectomy and later required five weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. She finished her treatments in December 2012 but remains committed to promoting awareness about the disease and raising funds to support research and patient programs. (To date, she has raised more than $30,000 for the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers walk, which takes place in Montreal and Toronto each summer.) “Like with most people affected by this disease, cancer changed my life forever,” says Morris. “I have not only some new scars, some funky radiation tattoos and a more profound feeling of blessing but also a new purpose: to find a cure and ensure that no one else has to fight for their life because of this disease. I know that my diagnosis has changed lives and families and inspired others to give, to change and to be mindful and appreciative of life. Most important, my cancer has given me the passion to make my cancer journey mean something, and I will not stop until cancer is gone forever. I emit a light and love into this world that even cancer can’t beat! Walking a catwalk in fashionable clothing is just another way I can shine and show those around me that cancer is a word— it’s not the end—and we must all rally together to stop cancer forever!”
Angie Morris was shot on location at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Besides the photo shoot, her “day in the life of a model” experience included a spa treatment and an overnight stay at the hotel. Morris walks the runway at the “Well Dressed for Spring” fundraiser for the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation (wellspring.ca) on February 24, 2014, at the Bloor Street Holt Renfrew in Toronto.