Hastings cancer survivor’s campaign gets mayoral backing

Elesha with Cllrs Dowling and Rogers
Elesha with Cllrs Dowling and Rogers

A young cancer survivor who used her experiences to help inspire others by becoming a model has received the mayor’s backing.

Elesha Turner works with Models of Diversity, a non-profit organisation campaigning for the industry to use more models with disabilities.

Mayor Bruce Dowling and deputy mayor Judy Rogers met Elesha at the end of last year to hear more about her story.

“I was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 19, in July 2013, which left me having to have limb salvage surgery to my left leg, the day before my 20th birthday,” said Elesha.

“During my recovery I have been involved with Models of Diversity, have walked in New York Fashion Week, and recently won a BEFFTA award.

“Now, three other MoD models and I have been to Parliament to launch the petition to address the exclusion of disability in fashion.

“One in every six people has a disability in this country and we are just asking for this to be reflected in the fashion industry.”

Elesha won her Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) award for best female model in a category of more than 30 able models.

The awards celebrate the achievements of black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts,

Cllr Dowling said: “Models of Diversity is an excellent charity which is challenging the fashion and arts industry to recognise beauty in all people.

“It was a pleasure to meet Elesha last week and have the opportunity to understand her personal struggle with surgeries and now of course, her success with her modelling career.

“It is important we all recognise diversity and I am pleased Elesha was able to bring to our attention the petition that Models of Diversity is currently working on to ‘Regulate the fashion industry and apply same ratio for models’.”

Elesha, who also organised a fitness-themed charity calendar in 2015, added: “It is great to have the support of the mayor and his deputy for this petition. I am urging my community, whether they have a disability or not, to help us reach our target and make a change happen.”

To find out more about Models of Diversity visit modelsofdiversity.org.

To support the petition, click here.

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