THE FUNERAL service for brave Cambuslang hairdresser Mandy McMillan has raised almost £2500 for cancer charities.
Mandy (37) died earlier this month after an incredible 10-year struggle with the illness, having first found she was suffering from breast cancer when taking a shower.
But against all odds, Mandy, who worked in Clippers in Cambuslang Main Street for 18 years, fought back, and made medical history when she became the first woman in the UK to give birth while taking breast cancer wonderdrug Herceptin, giving birth to daughter Holly (now seven).
A statement on Facebook from her family said: “Thank you for all your tributes to Mandy and messages of condolence.
“Her family would like you to know that a collection at Mandy’s funeral on Wednesday raised over £2400 for her chosen charities; Friends of the Beatson and Marie Curie Hospice.
“In typical Mandy style, she was giving to others right to the end.”
Brave Mandy wrote a book chronicling her experiences after being aggressively ravaged by breast cancer, Why Not Me.
Meanwhile, Mandy’s mum Marie Russell has vowed to honour her daughter’s memory this week by taking part in a fundraising fashion show for Breast Cancer Care Scotland.
Mandy was due to star alongside her mother but when she knew she wouldn’t make it herself, she made Marie promise to go ahead for both of them and it is a pledge her mum is determined to keep.
Despite her grief, Marie says she will still take part in the show in tribute to her beautiful daughter.
The 63-year-old, from Chryston, North Lanarkshire, told the Reformer’s sister paper the Sunday Mail: “Mandy knew she was dying and wasn’t going to be able to take part in the show but she was determined that I would still be on that stage.
“She made me promise I wouldn’t pull out and made all our friends and family promise that they wouldn’t let me pull out.
“It will be incredibly hard to take part in the show without her but it is what she wanted me to do.
“I made a promise to her and I am not going to let her down.”
Mandy initially appeared to have beaten the illness only for it to return a year later.
At 29, she was told by doctors that the cancer was incurable.
But Mandy – who was married to Scott, now 40 – refused to let the illness dampen her zest for life.
Holly was born in May 2005, despite Mandy previously being told the cancer treatment she was receiving had made her infertile.
Mandy had unknowingly been pregnant when she appeared as a model in the 2004 Breast Cancer Care Scottish fashion show.
She had agreed to return this year to help mark the 10th anniversary of the event at Glasgow’s Radisson Hotel, hosted by Shereen Nanjiani.
One model from each of the past nine years has been chosen to take part in next week’s show.
Mandy’s mum Marie, who successfully battled breast cancer in 2010, was chosen as one of this year’s 20 new models.
Plans had been in place for the inspiring mother and daughter to walk down the catwalk together.
But Marie says she knows the love and support of her family – including Scott – will give her the strength she needs to walk down the catwalk alone.
Marie and Mandy’s dad Joe (65), say their daughter was thrilled when she was selected to return to the charity show.
Marie said: “When Mandy was invited to be one of the returning models, she was delighted.
“I went with her to the Breast Cancer Care photoshoot and everyone kept telling me how amazing she looked.
“But at the time, we already knew the drugs she was taking to try to stop her illness progressing any further weren’t working.
“She hadn’t been well for quite a while and then she developed a bad cough.
“Things got worse until finally she was admitted to hospital in July.
“They discovered the cancer had spread to her lungs and brain.
“She must have been in hospital, at the Beatson, for around six weeks before she was moved to the Marie Curie Hospice in Springburn a couple of weeks ago.
“We all lived there with her and I stayed at nights. She had fought as hard as she could for 10 years but couldn’t fight any more.
“She had been through so many major operations and rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and taken part in so many different trials of new treatments.
“She didn’t want to leave the people she loved but she was ready to go. We were all with her when she died.”
Marie says despite her daughter being so ill, she always put everyone else first. She said: “She was organising us all to make things easier. She planned her own funeral. Scott was only 40 a few weeks ago and she arranged two parties.
“Before she went into hospital in July, she took me shopping and bought me a beautiful cream dress that she said I was to wear at the Breast Cancer Care show.”
Marie admits that watching Mandy prepare Holly, now seven, for her death was incredibly hard.
She said: “Holly is a little girl and it’s going to be very hard for her to grow up without her mum.
“Mandy has made lots of memory boxes for her, packed with everything from photos to her perfume. She has left letters for her too.
“I think for now we are all just functioning on auto-pilot and trying to keep strong for Holly.
“I don’t know how I will cope without her. She was my best friend as well as my daughter.
“At the moment, I just feel numb but I know that will fade and pain and grief will come.
“For now, we all have to keep going and part of that is doing the Breast Cancer Care show. It was a charity and cause very close to Mandy’s heart.”
Dawn Stanley, of Breast Cancer Care Scotland, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Mandy’s death. She helped raise the profile of people living with secondary breast cancer.”
Breast Cancer Care’s confidential free helpline is 0808 800 6000 or visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk .