I Can move on from a life changing cancer diagnosis.
I Am first and foremost a mum, but i’m also me.
I Will from this day onwards put myself first.
“Whilst I was put through really hardcore treatment, which poisoned me basically but kept me alive, it made me open my eyes to light and life and made me realise what is important.”
— Hellen Addis, The Titty Gritty —
This is a story about how life forces change in the most brutal but transformative ways. This is the story of Helen Addis, who two years ago was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Life was non-stop for Helen as a mother of 3 and full-time Features Editor for the Lorraine show until it had to change overnight. A week later Helen had to have a single mastectomy, followed by further invasive measures including lymph node surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 20 rounds of radiotherapy and 17 rounds of targeted hormone therapy. Helen’s life flipped upside down. Now, she had to put all her energy into herself for the first time in a long time, gaining a totally new and regenerated perspective on her life.
“The ICIAIW movement is a force of nature.”
Her story of overcoming physical and emotional pain highlights the important of sharing your experiences, and how from the direst situations in life, positivity can blossom. Helen believed her voice could make a change and this is what we wanted to capture in ICIAIW. ICIAIW highlights the unique relationship between hairdresser and client that’s built solely on trust. We create a safe space to talk and offload in an empowering and personal way, while you’re beautified on the outside. Using this backdrop of creativity and hair to champion mental wellbeing, we sought to capture her authentic perspective on life and her journey to becoming a Breast cancer ass-kicker and campaigner. Helen also shares her most vulnerable self by showing her mastectomy scars, symbolising her acceptance of her body and what it’s been through.
Breast cancer can hit anyone. Helen had no family history of the disease and was in good health when it took over her body. During chemotherapy, Helen came up with the idea of producing stickers to remind women and men to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, focusing on shop and gym changing rooms. This became her mission and the initiative was supported by ITV Lorraine. Soon thousands of stickers were being put up throughout the UK. John Lewis, David Lloyd gyms, ASDA, Monsoon were some of the many outlets to take part. Her movement has also been discussed in Parliament…with more announcements to come. Through ICIAIW Helen finds comfort and freedom in talking about her journey – epitomising how important it is to share your experiences with the world. This is especially poignant for Helen who following her campaigns launch in 2019 has had 30 women contact her to say that seeing her stickers saved their lives.
Helen is now cancer-free but under close hospital supervision. She continues to campaign for body awareness on Instagram (@thetittygritty).
April 7, 2022