Melanie | Red Shoe

When you feel blessed to have met and photographed a woman so strong, that meeting her has had such an impact you will carry the experience in your soul for always... .wait until you read her story, wait until you see her images... 

"My story – it all sounds a bit depressing when I write it down, but life isn't all

gloomy as life is definitely for living and I am lucky to be living it. I was

diagnosed with breast cancer in my left breast in 2007 at the age of 33, when

my little boy was three. It was an awful time – I went through surgery, 

chemotherapy and radiotherapy, lost all my hair, lost my confidence, gained

anxiety and post-traumatic stress and thought I’d never feel like myself again. 

Gradually with lots of help and support from my lovely friends and family and

the NHS, I did start to feel more like me and started learning to live with the

‘new normal’ that all us cancer survivors are living.

Unfortunately, as I started to become ‘me’ again, my husband was changing

and to cut a very long and sad story short, he was finally diagnosed with early-

onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 and we started off down a difficult and often

terrifying path as a family. We’re all battling on - life is sometimes hard, 

sometimes funny, sometimes bloody awful, but the one thing we've never lost

sight of is the love that surrounds us all and finding the good bits in amongst all

the awful stuff. We got married in 2013 – that was an amazingly happy day and

I will always have those memories to look back on. 

One of the things I lost along the way of all this was a sense of ME. Cancer

never goes away, there are scans and scares and blips (more lumps and

surgery on the other side in 2014 – all benign, phew!) and becoming a carer

instead of a wife is a terribly hard transition. Sometimes I feel like an old

woman before my time – and that is a rubbish way to carry on!

So – why Red Shoe?  I first heard about them when the fabulous Jay told me

about Sarah and Mandy and the fun and magic they create together in their

studio. Jay’s photos were amazing – they captured her perfectly and I wanted a

go. My beloved granny left me some money and I knew that some of it would

go towards a Red Shoe. I’d been feeling so flat and out of kilter, I felt I needed

something out of character to give me a jolt out of it. Short of something

dangerous or illegal, it seemed the way to go 

The day itself went in a flash – I’d been so nervous and it was all so

unnecessary. The session was funny, emotional, relaxed and glorious. I was

glammed up by the big-hearted, talented and beautiful Mandy – I will always

love my sexy whore eyes! And then the photos with Sarah – what a whirlwind

of energy, comedy, love and down to earth attitude she is. The two of them

made me feel beautiful and brought out parts of me that seemed lost forever – 

even without the photos the whole day was worth it just to feel so fabulous

and carefree.

I look at the lovely, lovely photos and I see lots of things. I see a different me, 

one I didn't know was still there. It was fun to dress up, to focus on the

positive, to put body image worries, insecurities and all the cancer/Alzheimer’s

crapola to one side and to just spend a day feeling special and otherworldly (I

was wearing a tutu and had flowers on my head at one point, so that totally

counts as otherworldly). I’d say if you need to laugh, to feel good, to forget

your woes and see that you can look beautiful on camera, then Red Shoe is for

you. Thank you Sarah and Mandy xxxxxxxxx"