A GLAMOROUS grandmother is preparing to take to the catwalk to celebrate being free from ovarian cancer for 20 years and to raise awareness of the disease.

Kathleen Tulip has been chosen as one of 13 models who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer to take part in the Touch of Teal fund-raiser in London, for the leading ovarian cancer support charity Ovacome.

“I’m actually quite a private person and at five foot, I’m not really built to be a model,” said Kathleen, who is from Prudhoe.

“But I am passionate about making women aware of the vague symptoms, having lost a friend to ovarian cancer recently and like many others being completely ignorant about it when I was diagnosed.”

Kathleen started suffering from one of the most common symptoms of bloating, and visited her GP. She was told to monitor her situation, but her symptoms worsened with the bloating becoming so bad that she began having difficulty breathing.

She then saw a consultant privately, which led to five litres of fluid being drained from her stomach and a tumour being found on one of her ovaries. Kathleen was too afraid to ask what stage cancer she had, but was fortunate to make a full recovery after having surgery and chemotherapy.

“I was really upset though and thought I was going to die,” she said. “I felt guilty at my diagnosis as I thought I had let my husband and children down.

“I was angry too as I have never smoked, hardly ever drank and had quite a good diet. This is why I am so keen to help Ovacome raise awareness of the disease as it really can affect anyone.”

Ovacome has come up with an easy to remember B.E.A.T. acronym of the main symptoms: B is for bloating that is persistent and does not come and go; E is for eating difficulties and feeling fuller quicker; A is for abdominal or pelvic pain you feel most days and T is for toilet changes, bladder or bowel.

Kathleen will walk down the catwalk at the The May Fair Hotel for Ovacome’s tenth annual event to raise awareness about ovarian cancer on March 23.

She said her motto would be to ‘eliminate the worst first’. “I was ignorant, but I knew there was something wrong with me. I would say to any woman who like me felt they weren’t right to ask their doctor ‘could this be ovarian cancer?’.”

Kathleen is also planning a coffee morning to raise money, on March 22 at All Seasons on Front Street, Prudhoe at 10.30am.