Thirty-two year old Charlotte Lister, of Blaxton, had a scare herself recently when she discovered a lump in her breast.
Straight away, she got it checked out and to her great relief, the growth was found to be a benign one that did not place her in any danger.
But with her aunt currently in remission from the disease, and her pageant ‘mentor’ and friend just diagnosed with breast cancer, Charlotte felt compelled to speak out and add her weight to ongoing campaigns that ask women to check their breasts for changes, properly and regularly, in a bid to catch any developing cancer early, when it is most treatable.
The sales adviser who works in Doncaster town centre has recently begun taking part in pageants again, after a break of a couple of years for personal reasons .
She plans to use these events as a platform to remind women to take care of their bodies, by self examination, in the future.
Soon she will take part in the Ms Scuba UK, which combines a pageant with the sport of scuba diving.
It’s not a sport that Charlotte is familiar with but she is a keen swimmer and snorkeller, and is looking forward to learning scuba diving, having attended her first training session in Doncaster.
Regarding the need to continue to remind women about breast examination, she said: “I met my pageant director Tina de-Bear back in 2014 in Paris, where I was competing for an international title.
“It was my first trip away without my daughter and I was really struggling, but she took me under her wing and helped to support me, hence why I call her my pageant mummy.
“She is one of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met, so I was very affected to hear recently that she has been diagnosed with cancer.
“When I found a lump in my breast, it was the most scary thing I have ever been through.
“The doctors, though, were fantastic. I got a scan within two weeks and luckily everything was normal, but I still check to make sure there aren’t any changes.
“I can’t explain how important it is for all women to check their breasts.
“I am so proud to be supporting the campaign of #touchyatatas with my other diamonds.
“I know there is a huge campaign promoted by Lorraine Kelly for putting check reminder posters in changing rooms in shops too, which is great.
“It’s simply something that women mustn’t forget about.….it could save their lives.”
Charlotte is in the six-woman Ms Scuba UK final on August 16, that takes place in Sheffield.
The Ms Scuba Diver pageant allows contestants to qualify as a scuba diver as the competition progresses.”
In May next year Charlotte will join o ther women to take part in the Miss Diamond UK pageant again.
This competition has sparked the #touchyourtatas campaign, linked to the cancer discovery by director Tina De-Bear and supported by her daughter Danni.
Currently only around 48 per cent of British women check their breasts regularly for lumps, they specify…..a figure that could be much improved.
Charlotte said: “I qualified for the Miss England pageant previously, but couldn’t take part because I am a mother.
“Some of the pageants have sections for different age groups and for women with children.
“I started doing the pageants around the age of 23 or 24 because they give rise to such good opportunities.
“You make so many friends and it does wonders for your confidence.
“I met my best friend , who lives in Goole, on the pageant circuit in 2013 and we are in constant contact.
“I will use any opportunity I get to spread awareness about checking for breast cancer.
“If you have won something, or have a label attached to your name, people tend to take more notice of what you have to say, I find.
“I’ll talk about the importance of self care whenever I get the chance. And I’m sure the Miss Diamond UK competitors will do everything they can to get the message out there.”
Charlotte is not wanting her eight-year old daughter to get involved in pageants, although they do run for younger contestants.
“I want her just to enjoy her childhood, and if she wants to take part in them when she’s a teenager I won’t stand in her way.
“But I’m certainly not one of those pushy type mothers,” she said: “My daughter will be able to develop her own interests and I’ll support what she wants to do.”