A Leeds breast cancer survivor has stripped down to the bare essentials in a fundraising campaign backed by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Leonie Saysell, from Whinmoor, and six other breast cancer survivors have shown their naked ambition by stripping down as part of the #ShowYourStrap initiative from Marks & Spencer and Breast Cancer Now.
The 54-year-old office manager is part of the new lingerie campaign directed by the model which urges women to show their support for women with breast cancer by posting selfies on social media of them showing their bra straps.
Images of her wearing the new lingerie have been plastered on high streets including London’s shopping capital Oxford Street.
During October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 10 per cent of proceeds from sales of the new range of underwear will be donated to Breast Cancer Now to help fund research.
Leonie said: “For me, the more people who see people like me, the more people see we are surviving this.
“It’s not like it was when my mum was diagnosed – she lost several friends very quickly. I’ve lost friends but I’ve got many who are survivors.”
Leonie’s mother fought breast cancer for 27 year years before she passed away a decade ago.
Because of her family history, Leonie was receiving annual check-ups when she was told she had two tumours in her left breast in 2010, and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
She had a mastectomy and reconstruction later that year and further chemotherapy and radiotherapy, before she had a second mastectomy that revealed a new tumour had been growing in her right breast tissue. She then had a full hysterectomy.
“We hope this campaign will raise a lot of money to fund research to help a lot more women survive,” she said. “If it takes me standing in my bra and knickers to get the message across, that’s what I’ll do.”
Leonie also praised M&S, photographer Amanda De Cadenet and model Rosie for their involvement, saying the latter was “overwhelmed” at meeting the cancer-conquering campaign models.
The new collection of lingerie includes a post-surgery bra with inner pockets designed to fit a prosthesis.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley added: “It has been amazing to co-design and develop this range, and meet the exceptional and inspirational women featured in our campaign.”
For further information visit marksandspencer.com.