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Woman, 22, becomes model for Kurt Geiger after losing her right leg

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/18/2020 Monica Greep For Mailonline
a group of people posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A woman who lost her leg to a rare form of cancer says she's 'more confident than ever' after losing the limb.   

Bernadette Hagans, 24, from West Belfast, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in August 2018, and was told she would have to have her right leg amputated through her knee at the age of 22. 

Soon after, Bernadette contacted modelling agency Zebedee Management, and two weeks later bagged a contract with retailer Primark, and has since modelled for luxury British footwear and accessories brand Kurt Geiger. 

Speaking to The Sunday Mirror, the model told how she 'didn't feel scared' to have her limb amputated, and feels as though she's finally 'found her voice' after losing her leg. 

a man and a woman standing in front of a door: Bernadette Hagans, 24, from West Belfast, lost her leg to a rare form of cancer - but says she's 'more confident than ever' after losing the limb © Provided by Daily Mail Bernadette Hagans, 24, from West Belfast, lost her leg to a rare form of cancer - but says she's 'more confident than ever' after losing the limb a woman standing in front of a brick building: The model bagged a contract with retailer Primark, and has since modelled for luxury British footwear and accessories brand Kurt Geiger © Provided by Daily Mail The model bagged a contract with retailer Primark, and has since modelled for luxury British footwear and accessories brand Kurt Geiger

'This last year I've felt more like myself than I ever did before,' she said. 'I used to be shy. I feel more confident now than I ever did with two legs.' 

Bernadette started feeling a pain in her leg in 2017,  noticing the ache while climbing the stairs up to her top floor flat. 

As the ache made it harder to walk and sleep, she visited her GP who originally said the pea-sized lump was nothing to worry about - but as it grew bigger, Bernadette urged them to find a diagnosis. 

After undergoing an MRI scan in May, Bernadette carried on working 12-hour shifts at her local bookies, without telling her parents or four brothers she was waiting for the news. 

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Bernadette, pictured before her amputation, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in August 2018, and was told she'd have her right leg amputated through her knee at the age of 22 © Provided by Daily Mail Bernadette, pictured before her amputation, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in August 2018, and was told she'd have her right leg amputated through her knee at the age of 22 a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Bernadette's modelling career started after she noticed a picture of a model with Down's Syndrome, and left a comment, which Zebedee Management replied to © Provided by Daily Mail Bernadette's modelling career started after she noticed a picture of a model with Down's Syndrome, and left a comment, which Zebedee Management replied to

In August 2018, the model was told she had synovial sarcoma, a cancer which develops in cells around joints and tendons, and was given the news that her leg would have to be amputated. 


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After telling her parents the news, Bernadette underwent the operation, and was in hospital for 10 days before going home to learn how to walk again for a further three months.  

Bernadette's modelling career started after she noticed a picture of a model with Down's Syndrome, and left a comment, which Zebedee Management replied to. 

She has since begun her partnership with Kurt Geiger, as part of their People Empowered Campaign and has become an ambassador for charity CLIC Sargent, as well as raising money for the Cancer Fund for Children and the Voom Foundation. 

a man standing in front of a graffiti covered wall: She has since begun her partnership with Kurt Geiger, as part of their People Empowered Campaign © Provided by Daily Mail She has since begun her partnership with Kurt Geiger, as part of their People Empowered Campaign a person standing in front of a curtain: Bernadette now shares videos about her amputation on TikTok, amassing a huge 73k followers and 1.3 million likes and donates all profit from her viral clips to CLIC Sargent © Provided by Daily Mail Bernadette now shares videos about her amputation on TikTok, amassing a huge 73k followers and 1.3 million likes and donates all profit from her viral clips to CLIC Sargent

'I lost my leg but found my voice', she said, 'I know people think it's unusual that I didn't feel scared, but I didn't. I felt very calm. I've always been a joker.' 

Bernadette now shares videos about her amputation on TikTok, amassing a huge 73,000 followers and 1.3 million likes, and donates all profit from her viral clips to CLIC Sargent. 

Urging her followers to raise money for the charity in one of her videos, she said: 'I got cancer in my calf and the type of cancer I got was synovial sarcoma and I'm actually part of the TikTok creator fund at the minute. 

'So any money I'm making from this is being donated to CLIC Sargent, which is a charity set up to help young people with cancer, so hopefully people will start trying to donate theirs as well so we can try and raise some money for charity.'  

What is synovial sarcoma?

Synovial sarcoma is a cancer that can come from different types of soft tissue, such as muscle or ligaments.

It is often found in the arm, leg, or foot, and near joints such as the wrist or ankle. It can also form in soft tissues in the lung or abdomen. Synovial sarcoma may also be called malignant synovioma.

One third of patients with synovial sarcoma will be diagnosed under the age of 30. It is somewhat more common in males. 

Treatment for synovial sarcoma depends on whether it has spread. Given that synovial sarcoma can grow for a while before it is found, there is a greater chance that it will spread to other parts of the body. 

 Surgery is the first choice of treatment for synovial sarcomas. When all of the tumor is removed and there is no sign of cancer anywhere else in the body, there is a better chance of survival. 

Success of the surgery depends on the size of the tumor and its location in the body. 

Source: National Cancer Institute  

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