Courageous cancer survivor Soraya Kelly whose decision to share her story has seen her very well supported campaign called #theglovesareon go global, helped her to set up the Soraya Kelly Foundation to donate to charitable causes, and resulted in the #theglovesareon website being launched.
At 48 years old, she was diagnosed with Grade 3 cancer due to her 11 year old implants pushing out a lump – which would have been completely missed had she not had the cosmetic surgery some years earlier.
As a mum of four, she was so grateful that this was caught in the early stages to ultimately beat the disease that she started #theglovesareon.
Launched whilst she was undergoing a lumpectomy and weeks of gruelling daily radiotherapy, it was a bid to raise awareness of early detection and prompt treatment.
She candidly shared my story on social media, and a whole host of people touched by the disease stepped up.
This included global stars Gloria Hunniford, Thierry Henry, and Madness. Welsh celebrities Joe Calzaghe, Joe Cordina plus David Jones and Craig Bellamy from Sky Sports. Sports teams Cardiff Blues, Barry Town Football Club, Cardiff City Football Club FiJi 7’s Rugby Team.
Vale of Glamorgan Welsh Government AM Jane Hutt, UK Government MP Alun Cairns, charities TY Hafan, Light Up for Leslie. Companies Virgin Travel Media, St David’s Hotel, Virgin Travel. And well-respected fashion designer Nathan Palmer, the locally produced Style of the City plus BBC Belfast, through individuals Liam Beckett (MBE) and Joel Tagget .
Many have taken part in publicity opportunities, and donated memorabilia for a fundraising evening in May. This raised just under £13,600.00 which was distributed to various charities of my choice.
Some are also featured in the #theglovesareon campaign advert made by the energetic University of South Wales (USW) students – with full support from the Caron Keating Foundation through the Hunniford family who are constantly in touch.
Seventeen year old Irish songwriter Eva Campbell composed the powerful theme song, and the USW media production undergraduates, are also producing a gritty documentary showing my journey. This will air in February 2019.
She has supporters around the world including FIJI, Australia, Austria, America, Dubai, Italy, Dublin and Spain – La Manga Resort have been particularly supportive in that country.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have sent a letter of support and politicians including Jane Hutt AM have shared my story on social media.
She has a meeting next month with glove manufacturers and bottled water companies in a bid to work in collaboration using the #TheGlovesAreOn trademark. This will help fund the Soraya Kelly Foundation to financially support lots of different groups close to her, and her loyal team’s hearts- not just cancer associated organisations.
Soraya said: “My campaign success would not have been at all possible if it was not for my core team who all share as much passion about the campaign, and making a difference, in different ways. They have equally played a part in my success. Whether it is visually or behind the scenes they have been consistent with the ongoing support and have been my rocks!
She added; “I am extremely proud of these seven key players in our team and feel they should also have the recognition they deserve. The group is diverse in age, gender and profession with a wealth of experience of life, employment and education. We are used to being in positions where we have had to advocate or have a voice on behalf of vulnerable people, and/or and unrepresented groups in order to make that difference.
My campaign approach has always been about inclusion of all. Cancer shows no prejudice and neither does #theglovesareon. I believe in a joined-up approach to raise awareness of early detection and treatment to achieve better outcomes for all. This can do attitude, and support from my team, resulted in me winning a Regional Award for Citizenship in the Summer.”
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.