A mammogram saved my life…

Avril Saunders appeared as a Case Study in THE SUN newspaper’s Health section yesterday.

The Sun newspaper - health section

Avril was one of three ladies in The Sun

A couple of months ago Avril emailed me via my website Featureworld – which I run to help people sell their true life stories to the press. Her story was simple – she had gone for a routine mammogram (the screening test available for women to detect breast cancer early) – and been shocked to be diagnosed with cancer.
Avril, a grandmother, has never smoked, always ate healthily and took exercise and so it was the last thing she ever expected.
Worse the tumour was discovered to be aggressive and Grade three. However, because screening had caught it so early it hadn’t spread and the only treatment she needed was surgery to remove it and some radiotherapy.
I knew Avril’s story would be perfect if I were ever doing a feature on this – and on Wednesday when The Sun Health team contacted me to see if I had anyone like Avril on my books, I was able to put her forward.
The Sun were doing a feature following up on the news story that some doctors believe mammograms do more harm than good because they identify lumps that might not ever progress to cancer or spread – and then women might undergo unnecessary treatment.
However, Avril and two other ladies went into The Sun to tell women not to abandon screening – as Avril says she is proof that it does save lives. She feels lucky her breast cancer was caught early and wants to encourage other women to do the same.
Avril feels so strongly about screening that she has written a book. Called Mammograms Save Lives, it will be available from Amazon Online, Waterstones, and WH Smiths and all profits will go to Breast Cancer Care and McMillan Nurses. Find out more here.

You might like: Breast cancer reunited me with my birth mum

If you would like the opportunity to take part in selected features and at the same time earn some money, why not apply for the Featureworld newsletter at Featureworld Casting website.

To see which stories editors are currently looking for interviewees for click here: Magazine Updates

For editors looking for an interviewee like Avril click here: Find a Case Study.

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IN THE NEWS: The world’s biggest bra…

The world’s biggest bra has been hoisted onto ITV Southbank building today…World's biggest bra on building and as it’s bright pink it will be able to be seen from both sides of the Thames.

But it’s all in aid of charity – to mark the largest day of fundraising in Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Guinness officials have granted record-breaking status for the giant pink bra, which measures 32 metres around the ‘chest’ and features cups that are 34B, would be a size 1222B in real terms. The bra will now take its place in the Guinness Book of Records.

“After last year’s successful partnership with Breast Cancer Campaign we knew we wanted to come up with something innovative and ‘big’ for 2011” said Stefan Gaa, Marketing Director of RB UK, manufacturers of Vanish, which supports the Breast Cancer Campaign, “building the world’s largest bra seemed to be tailor made for wear it pink day.”

Last year hundreds of thousands of people took part in wear it pink by wearing an item of pink and each donating £2, raising a staggering £2.5 million for breast cancer research. Every year, some 48,000 are diagnosed with breast cancer and wear it pink helps to fund cutting-edge research into this disease which affects so many.

Donate at wearitpink.co.uk or text PINK44 £2 to 70070

Vanish/Breast Cancer Campaign ‘Bra Facts’

• The bra took 4 weeks to make from lightweight spinnaker nylon
• It took 375 square metres of fabric
• It measures 27 metres under the bust, 31 metres around the bust
• It is equivalent to a 34B
• The fabric weights 75 kilos but with the metal fasteners it weighs a total of 90 kilo

Are you doing something amazing for charity and need some publicity? Do you have a press release suitable for IN THE NEWS? Contact me here: Sell Your Story UK

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Sad update on Featureworld interviewee…

In July I was thrilled that interviewee Claire Faulkner and her husband were so delighted with my story in WOMAN’S OWN magazine.

Claire Faulkner

Happy on their wedding day...

Claire, a divorced mum of two had been battling breast cancer when she met Chris. Everything seemed perfect when he proposed but shortly after she was fitted for her wedding dress, she discovered the cancer had returned.

Despite this, in October 2010, the couple went ahead with their wedding and as this picture shows, it was truly a wonderful day. Since then the cancer spread further. The couple simply could not contemplate the worse and began fund-raising for treatment in the US they believed could save Claire’s life. In August she and Chris got to the States for this treatment and although they were going through such a difficult time, Chris told me it was a wonderful experience.

However, it seems this treatment came too late to help as on her return, Claire got worse and last week, on 21st September, Claire passed away.

Chris says: “Both myself and Claire were very grateful for all your help along the incredibly difficult journey that we have had.”

I am just pleased that through Featureworld, Chris has a wonderful cutting from Woman’s Own magazine to look back on.

To read more about Claire’s story, click here: Claire Faulkner’s story

If you have a bitter-sweet poignant real life story you would like to share, then please contact me here: Selling my story

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Mums with cancer to fly to US for life-saving treatment…

Good luck to Featureworld interviewees cancer sufferers Laura Hymas and Claire Faulkner, both of whom are due to fly to the US for treatment that they hope will save their lives.

Cancer sufferer Laura Hymas

Laura Hymas and son Jacob

Mum Laura has a brain tumour and UK doctors have said there is nothing more they can do for her here. Husband Ben recently launched the Hope for Laura campaign.
Meanwhile, mum of two Claire has advanced breast cancer and she too has been told by doctors in the UK that they can’t do any more to help.
Both mums, who are separately represented by Featureworld, are now due to travel within the next week to see a doctor in the US who has offered to help. They have both been desperately fund raising enough money for the treatment, which is controversial, but which offers the only hope for both of them to beat their cancers.
Claire’s emotional story recently appeared in Woman’s Own magazine. You can read more, including how to donate to Claire, here.
Meanwhile Laura’s story has already appeared in the Daily Mirror and an update on her story is due to appear in two magazines. Read more about Laura’s story here, including the Hope for Laura campaign here.

Featureworld will be following both interviewees on their journeys and keeping you updated on how they get on. Meanwhile, I just wish them all the best.

Sell your story to raise money for charity: Sell Your Story

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The tears behind my wedding day…

Emotional real life story appears in WOMAN’S OWN this week.

Story in Woman's Own magazine

Claire Faulkner's emotional story appears in Woman's Own this week...

In their wedding photos, Claire Faulkner, 40, looks like any other radiant bride as she marries husband Chris, 37.
But in fact, on their wedding day both she and Chris knew she was dying from cancer. Claire, a mum of two beautiful girls, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. It was devastating especially as it came at a time when her marriage was breaking up. She had a mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy and in January 2008 doctors gave her the all clear.
It was then she met an old friend again, Chris and they began dating. He didn’t even mind about Claire’s cancer or the fact that surgery had left her body scarred. And he was wonderful with the girls. Soon they had moved in together and on Christmas Day in 2009 Chris proposed. Naturally Claire said yes!
But shortly after as she was fitted for her wedding dress she found a lump in her neck – the cancer had returned.
Despite this the couple went through with their wedding with doctors giving Claire two weeks off treatment so she looked and felt their best. Talk of cancer was banned and the couple had the wondering wedding day they dreamed of.
Since then, though, the cancer has spread even more. Claire and Chris cannot accept nothing can be done. So they are fund raising for treatment in the US. This treatment is controversial and some say it hasn’t been proved but they will try everything to try to beat this.

Of the story in Woman’s Own Chris said: “Hi Alison, I picked up the copy of Womans Own magazine today to read the article and ….well what can I say, it was perfect! Hearing it read back on the phone is one thing but to see it in writing is another, we even made the front cover!
My wife and I were both deeply moved, it really is a wonderfully touching piece. We both wanted to pass on our thanks and let you know how very grateful we are.”

To read regular updates on how Claire is or to make a donation go to Claire’s website.

If you have a particularly emotional real life story to sell contact me here: Story to Sell.

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Custody battle over frozen embryos…

Sarah Robinson’s story about how she might face a custody battle over frozen embryos with her ex appears in THE SUN newspaper today.

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Sarah talks in The Sun about the difficulties she and her ex face over their frozen embryos...

When Sarah got breast cancer and was told treatment might make her infertile, she and her then boyfriend Carl, decided to have embryos frozen.
So shortly before she underwent chemo and radiotherapy, her eggs were harvested and fertilised with Carl’s sperm.
But now the couple have split up – and although the embryos might be Sarah’s only chance of having a family – she is worried she will never be able to use them.
Legally, both of them need one another’s consent before they could use the embryos. Her concerns are that any new man she meets will never be happy about her having her ex-boyfriend’s baby and that any new girlfriend Carl has will be equally unhappy. And Sarah does not know how she would react if it were Carl wanted to use them. Could she be happy knowing another woman was bringing up her biological child.
In fact, both of them realise when they went into this, they did not have enough counselling about the issues involved.
I have followed Sarah’s story for approximately a year now and in line with other interviewees, who come through my website, Featureworld I always endeavour to sell stories again.
Hence, Sarah’s story about how she got cancer in her twenties has already appeared in Fabulous magazine and the Daily Mail newspaper. However, since those stories, the situation between Carl and Sarah has changed and now they’ve split, they face this new dilemma.

Sarah said: “I wanted to get this story out there as I am sure it must be happening with other couples.”

Meanwhile, Carl said: “The story reads well. Thank you very much!”

Do you have an unusual dilemma or angle to a story and want to get it out there in a national newspaper? Do contact me here: Selling my Story

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Teenage girls and binge drinking…

Featureworld interviewee Sarah Robinson tells her cautionary story about binge drinking in the DAILY MAIL newspaper today.

Sell your story to the Daily Mail newspaper

Sarah Robinson tells her story in the Daily Mail

I sold first sold Sarah’s story last year. As studies have linked breast cancer with excess drinking, she believed binge drinking in her teens and twenties could have been responsible for her being diagnosed with the disease. Then her real-life story appeared over three pages in a glossy weekly women’s magazine. She was delighted with her article and she told me she would love to do another feature.
I kept Sarah’s details on file and when the Daily Mail news asked me yesterday afternoon if I had anyone who might be interested in contributing to their story about binge drinking, I immediately thought of Sarah.
The story in the Daily Mail today tells of new research that young women in the UK are drinking more alcohol than their European contemporaries.
Sarah gave her consent to her story being used again – she wants to raise awareness of how damaging binge drinking can be – so welcomed the opportunity to tell her story again.
And today it appears as part of a bigger news report going over two pages.

If you would like to contribute your story to a news report, get in contact here: Sell My Story form.

To read more stories on the Featureworld website go to: Sell My Story. Real-life and true stories wanted for women’s magazines.

Read more recently sold stories here: Sell your story archives.

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What caused me to get breast cancer at just 25?

Claire Whittle’s true-life story about how she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25 appears on the front cover of TAKE A BREAK magazine this week and inside over two pages.

Claire’s story about she believes she got breast cancer due to binge drinking has already appeared in the Daily Mail newspaper and now I have gained yet another deal for Claire with an upmarket glossy women’s monthly mag.
With no history of breast cancer in her family, Claire believes binge drinking when she was at university is to blame for her contracting this illness at such a young age.
Since being diagnosed, Claire has discovered that drinking to excess can raise women’s risk of contracting breast cancer. She has also been told by doctors to abstain as studies show drinking can increase the chance of the cancer returning.
Claire wanted to gain the maximum publicity for her story to raise awareness into the dangers of binge drinking so that other young women might not suffer as she has. So she was delighted that her story has not only appeared in a big national newspaper but in one of the country’s best read weekly magazines and will now be highlighted in a bestselling monthly magazine.
If you would like to gain the maximum publicity for your story, contact me here: Sell my story!

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Breast cancer made me trace my biological mum…

Philippa Wakefield-Lilley’s poignant true life story appeared in The DAILY MIRROR on Friday.

A few weeks ago Philippa emailed me to say she wanted to sell a story and therefore be involved with breast cancer month (which is now…) So I was pleased to place her story as the main feature with the Daily Mirror’s breast cancer month special and Philippa’s story went over two beautiful pink coloured pages in the paper.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of just 34, Philippa, a mum of two, was devastated. But she was also concerned to know whether breast cancer is genetic as she was worried her daughter could be at risk. The problem was Philippa is adopted and as she grew up with loving adopted parents, had never sought her biological ones.
But getting breast cancer made her change her mind and she decided to find her birth mum. It took some searching but she eventually found Linda on Friends Reunited. The pair have now met. Looking at the photos of both of them I am amazed by the likeness between them.
Thankfully there is no history of breast cancer in the family and the bonus is that Philippa and Linda get on very well.
Linda is a teacher who got unexpectedly pregnant when she was young and made the difficult decision to put Philippa up for adoption.

Philippa said: “I was thrilled with the Daily Mirror feature. It was exactly as I hoped it would be.”

Do you have a health story to sell? If so contact me here: Sell my Health Story

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Binge drinking gave me cancer … story sold to Daily Mail

University graduate Claire Whittle’s real life story about how she believes binge drinking as a student raised her risk of cancer appeared in the DAILY MAIL newspaper at the weekend.

At the age of 24 Claire went into rehab to battle with her alcohol addiction. But after just four months she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although Claire, now 26, is currently in remission, her consultant has since advised her not to have another drink as it could raise the chance of her cancer returning.
Since then Claire, who is about to begin an MA in the effects of drugs and alcohol on society, has discovered there is a lot of evidence that shows alcohol, especially drinking to excess, is implicated in breast cancer.
Claire wanted to sell her story to a newspaper to warn other young women about drinking to excess.
She says: “I thought the story looked great in the paper. I only hope my story serves as a warning to any other young women who binge drink that it might be affecting your health in a way you might never have imagined.”
At the same time Claire wanted to raise money to help towards the expenses of studying for her master’s degree.
There has been a lot of interest in Claire’s true story and several magazines were also interested. Her story has now been sold to a major women’s weekly magazine where a follow-up will be appearing in a few weeks time over two pages.
Do you have a health story to sell? Do contact me via my website.