Last October we launched our Surviving Sirens Competition, aiming to find and share an inspiring story of survival against the odds.
We received the nomination below, and were touched by it in every possible way.
“I would like to nominate my mother for the Surviving Sirens competition.
In her younger days, she ran a successful hairdressing business with 36 staff in a large salon catering for all types of women. She opened a boutique above the salon, to provide a choice of both formal and casual wear for the clients who came to her shop and gave advice to her customers on style and colours. In the mid 1970′s, the entire salon went up in flames following an electrical fault in the signage. As you can imagine, it must have been devastating to stand there in the ruins, and see everything that you have created burned to the ground. But she re-built the whole lot and started again from scratch, with a better, much improved salon and boutique. She managed to retain her staff and luckily, her old customers returned also – the new business was even more successful than the old one.
She combined this with running a busy household, bringing up myself and my younger brother, and also looking after my father, who sadly developed emphysema of the lungs and had to give up his work as a property developer to take early retirement.
Four years ago, my mum was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and underwent several operations and heavy courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She fought bravely through the illness, never complaining and always taking care of those around her, even when she was herself very sick. During this time, my dad’s condition worsened, and sadly we lost him two and a half years ago, the emphysema finally got the better of him.
Having been married for 40 years, my mother missed him terribly but carried on to be a fantastic grandmother to my brother’s two children, Connor (aged 3) and Sophie (6 months). My father had always dreamed of building a house for him and my mother in the garden of their existing house and in his last weeks, put the final touches to the layout, all of which he designed himself. My mum is now carrying through this dream and is going to build the house that he dreamt of in his memory. She plans to live there for the rest of her life.
She is a great friend and support to her friends, some of whom have also lost their husbands, but are perhaps not as strong as my mum and struggle to cope. She goes out of her way to help others wherever she can and always has a smile and an encouraging word for everyone. She has taken up computer studies and e mails people all over the world. She also goes to the gym twice a week in an effort to keep fit, and walks with friends regularly.
She is 71 years old in November and often talks of the days when she was a hairdresser and manicurist. She was also a local beauty queen in her younger days, winning competitions in and around her home town of Aberdeen. It would be lovely for her to be the one getting the treatment for a change and make her feel like a beauty queen again just for a few days. I hope that you will consider her for your competition”
Our Surviving Siren, whose story is a true mark of bravery and inspiration, will receive an “Ultimate Luxury De-Stress Rejuvenation Package”, worth over £250, consisting of 3 natural facelift massage treatments at a prestigious Harley Street clinic and a personalised eating plan. The nominator, Linda Kennedy, will also win a free facelift massage (worth £70).
This delicious prize is offered by our partner, Paola Bassanese of Energya, Stress Management Solutions: www.energya.co.uk