CANCER victim Naomi Thomas was told she was dying just days after giving birth to her only son.
But instead of wallowing in self-pity and sitting back to accept her fate, the 31-year-old founded a charity – the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation – based in Marsh Barton in Exeter, dedicated to helping couples with terminal illness enjoy a wedding day of their dreams.
And now Naomi, from Sidmouth, is set for a moment in the spotlight herself after being chosen to take to the catwalk.
To mark October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she was selected out of hundreds of entrants to be a model at the annual London Breast Cancer Care fashion show in front of a star studded audience.
With a smile to melt even the hardest of hearts, an infectious personality and a curvaceous figure most women would be thrilled with, what makes Naomi stand out is the way she continues to smile, laugh and enjoy life despite living with terminal secondary breast cancer at such a young age.
She will be strutting her stuff on October 2 in two shows at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, alongside 24 other women and men who have all had a diagnosis of breast cancer – to prove you can still look great and feel confident after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Naomi, diagnosed in 2009, said: "I want to do this to show anyone going through breast cancer that you can still look glamorous and feel confident in your own skin."
After bravely enduring radiotherapy and surgery, as well as a gruelling series of chemotherapy, against all the odds and to the delight of Naomi and fiancé Graham, she fell pregnant with her only child, Devon. But only a week after his birth in September 2010, Naomi was told the devastating news that her cancer had spread. She married Graham with support from family, friends and local businesses, which prompted her to want to help other terminally ill brides or grooms-to-be.
She said: "When I was told I had breast cancer at 26 it was the biggest shock of my life. But to then learn it had spread so soon after giving birth was the worst thing in the world. Of course, treatment was extremely tough and I still have days when I feel terrible but keeping strong and positive, trying to carry on and be as normal as much as I can, is a massive big help for me."
She added: "As you can imagine, I'm very much looking forward to getting onto that catwalk – I think it's going to be wonderful experience and I cannot wait to get dressed up in some stunning outfits and feel truly glamorous."
Since her devastating diagnosis Naomi has spent time stockpiling blissful family memories, while raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
She said: "You really appreciate every moment so much more. Rather than staring death in the face, you need to enjoy every moment of your life. If I spent all the time worrying about dying I would waste the time I had left."