A line-up of local gentlemen is preparing to take to the catwalk for the cause.
Brave is set to return in May alongside its sister event Courage on the Catwalk. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the curtain will come up on the shows at the Beach Ballroom on May 5 and 6, featuring 24 men who have faced a cancer or haematology diagnosis.
The models ages range from 25 to 77, with men hailing from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray. The group met all together for the first time on Wednesday evening (March 9) for an icebreaker dinner hosted by Friends of ANCHOR. For the full line-up, tap here.
Charity director Sarah-Jane Hogg said: “The icebreaker dinner we host at the beginning of each Brave experience is a great opportunity for the gents to get to know one another. From here until the shows, we’re seeing each other every week so it’s lovely to start the process with a meal together.
“Brave is far more than just a two-day event, it’s a journey we all go on together where friendships are formed that, for many, last years on after the show curtains close. It builds new-found confidence and gives our models a platform to share their stories in the hopes it encourages, and even inspires others who may too be affected by a cancer diagnosis.
“We’re thrilled to have preparations underway for what will be our fourth Brave event, and we look forward to getting to know this group of guys who’ve bravely stepped out of their comfort zones to give something back to the charity and the NHS clinical teams that supported them.”
The models in the line-up represent the breadth and scale of the lives that are affected locally by cancer and haematology conditions. Among the men taking part are some who were diagnosed several years ago, some who began treatment during lockdown, and others who manage their condition on a daily basis. Throughout the Brave experience they will step into the spotlight to raise awareness and vital funds for Friends of ANCHOR.
The fundraising will go to the charity’s ANCHORED Together appeal - a campaign to raise £2m for additional investment into The ANCHOR Centre, set to open in Aberdeen in 2023.
Ally Parker from Aberdeen City Centre is one of the men in this year’s line-up. Ally, 48, works as a business development manager, and was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer in 2019. He received treatment in the ANCHOR Unit and received the all-clear in 2020.
He said: “I’m excited to see what unfolds and look forward to getting to know the guys. The support I’ve had from family and friends has been brilliant and now Brave is an opportunity to take something on with people who’ve been through a similar experience.”
Ally was originally encouraged to apply for the event in 2020 but having just completed a course of treatment and battling sepsis, he made the decision to wait.
“I didn’t take much encouraging this year and I’m really pleased to be taking part to give something back to a charity that supported me during my treatment.”
Ally is keen to use his newfound model status to encourage other men to “get checked out”.
He said: “I was one of those guys who left a lump in my neck unchecked for a couple of months, thinking it would be nothing. But if you notice changes anywhere in your body, see your doctor. You’re not wasting anyone’s time, and you don’t need to wait until things get worse. If in doubt – go get checked.
“If you are facing a diagnosis, you’re not alone – there is help out there, whether it’s from your medical team, charities like Friends of ANCHOR, or your friends and family. I felt low at times during my treatment but speaking with the nurses and the Friends of ANCHOR wellbeing team really helped. They’re well informed and always there to chat.”
Ally and his fellow models will be professionally trained and styled by Brave’s event partner, production and modelling agency Premiere Productions UK, with outfits from local retailers including Slater Menswear and Highland outfitters Mitchell Scott and Neil Selbie. The show welcomes a new retail partner this year too, with the gents also modelling Marks and Spencer clothes.
Brave has raised more than £394,600 for Friends of ANCHOR’s work supporting cancer and haematology patients in the North-east of Scotland since it launched in 2017.
Sarah-Jane added: “Brave has been a big miss in our event calendar, not only for the joy it brings to our models, their families and the hundreds who watch the shows, but the fundraising too. We’re so thankful we can host these shows once again and look forward to this year’s models having their moment in the spotlight.”
Balcony tickets are available for both Brave shows and include food, with guests able to enjoy the full show which includes live entertainment from local musicians and performers, a luxury ‘Tree of Indulgence’ raffle and chance to win other star raffle prizes, all in support of the charity. For ticket prices and booking details, tap here.
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