A young woman who was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer at the age of 25 is fighting to spread awareness of the killer disease.
Brave Emily-Rae Rushmer from Peartree Bridge had always dreamed of having children but had to undergo a full hysterectomy to be cured.
The treatment, along with months of serious infections afterwards, meant she also had to say goodbye to her wait length blonde locks due to stress-induced alopecia.
Her hair is now a “straggly ginger mess” she said.
But undeterred, she planned a total head shave to get rid of the remaining straggles and raise money for Macmillan cancer support charity.
She said: “Shaving off what’s left of my hair doesn’t bother me at all, and neither does the big scar that runs right down my tummy from the hysterectomy.
“I see both things as reminders of my strength and the reason that I am still alive today. Before the cancer, I was so body conscious, but now I am proud of who I am.”
Emily, now 26, went to her GP last year because she was experiencing unusual bleeding.
A cervical smear detected the cancer immediately.
She said: “On the NHS, routine smears are only offered when a woman reaches the age of 25. That was obviously too late for me. I would like to see them offered routinely from the age of 16.”
Emily was told the cancer was so advanced that her womb had to be removed.
“Obviously that was a horrible. I’m still single but I was certain that I wanted to have children one day. The hysterectomy meant I was having to say goodbye to all my future babies.”
After a battle with post-op sepsis and numerous other abdominal infections, Emily is now on the road to recovery and is planning a career working with special needs children.
She has bravely posted photos of her scars on social media in a bid to raise awareness of cervical cancer.
The charity head shave will take place today, and you can donate on https://www.gofundme.com/f/ems-brave-the-shave