Meet Maria Hales
In a nutshell...
After spending a little time in Maria’s company you will soon see she is a caring, beautiful person, outside and in and although she has been through some tough times, she has moved on and come out stronger then ever.
Tell us a bit more about yourself...
I live in Ashford, Kent with my two children, Charlotte and Conor. I have lived here for most of my life apart from a short spell when I moved to Maidstone. This is when I first joined the Police Force and was based in Maidstone to do my training and first post, over 20 years ago. We moved back to Ashford after two years as I really missed being close to my family and friends.
I currently work part time as a Community Liaison Officer. This is a fantastic and rewarding role and being part time has meant I have been lucky enough that whilst the children were growing up I could fit work in around their schooling and spending time with them.
In my spare time I regularly go to the gym. I have to admit this is something I have only recently started doing but I have more spare time now to be able to fit it in. I have given quite a few classes a go such as salacise and pilates but I really do love swimming. Most of all though I love nothing more then a coffee and a chat with my friends! I have found this a great support especially over the past year.
How did you find out you had breast cancer?
In September 2009 my husband found a small pea sized lump in my breast. I went straight to the doctors and within two weeks I had a hospital appointment. They carried out an urgent biopsy and the results were due on 13th October.
Two days before I was due to go back my husband informed me he had been seeing another woman and he was leaving me and the children. We had been going through a tough patch but I didn’t expect this. When we had spoken about the situation before he said he was very stressed and having a ‘mid-life crisis’. He swore there was no-one else involved.
I went to the appointment, already shaken by the recent events. The lump was diagnosed as cancerous and I needed to have a lumpectomy. Unfortunately the lumpectomy revealed there were precancerous cells in situ and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. I needed to have a mastectomy and lymph gland removal, followed by chemo and radiotherapy. I couldn’t believe what was happening, a few weeks previous I thought I had the perfect life. I was shocked by it all and lived the next few months in disbelief.
The mastectomy went ahead that Christmas. My whole world turned upside down. The thought of losing my breast, my hair, my family unit and the support of the one person who I thought would have been there for me, was unbearable at the time. Luckily I have had incredible support from family and friends.
The chemo wasn't a pleasant experience but it is something you just need to get through, there is light at the end of the tunnel which seems a long way off at the start. I tried not to give myself a finish date but you can’t help it. Unfortunately I had my last two chemo sessions delayed due to low white cell count and also needed GCSF injections in my stomach. You learn to cope, I had up and down days with lots of tears on the way, but you do get through it.
Why did you apply to be a Nicola Jane model?
When I first had surgery my confidence had taken a real knock, not just because of the cancer but also separating from my husband. I thought I would never feel the same self esteem I previously had felt in the past. However when I received my first order from Nicola Jane and tried the bras and swimsuit on, I felt fantastic. They were so comfortable and its great peace of mind knowing that everything will stay in place.
I also feel that since going through the past year my attitude has changed from being someone that would be rushing all over the place to someone who wants to grab every opportunity where possible, so when I saw that Nicola Jane were looking for models I decided to cease the moment and apply. My confidence had taken such a knock but I thought this might help me feel better within myself and even more, it would be an amazing way to start my new life.
Any advice for ladies reading this?
It’s a shame that it takes an illness like this to make us think differently about life - I certainly do. Look for the positives in everything, seize opportunities, enjoy what you do, be happy and live life to the full. I do think I am a positive and happy person, however at the moment there isn't a day that passes without me thinking about cancer and how much my life has changed. I am making the most of everything; life is for living, be happy and do whatever makes you feel good.
I would like to thank my family and friends for all their help and support and just being there for me.
One of Maria's entry photos to become a model
On her hols
Maria and her children Charlotte and Conor
At the photoshoot modelling 7005 bra
Maria and the other models
Maria models 5362 bra