'Forget no makeup selfies - here's the real face of cancer'

The Bolton News: Lily Beswick undergoing cancer treatment in hospital Lily Beswick undergoing cancer treatment in hospital

CLAIR Beswick knows better than anyone what the face of cancer looks like.

The brave mum, who lost her daughter, Lily, to the disease at the age of 21 months, has joined forces with other mums to launch their own take on the #nomakeupselfie craze sweeping social network sites across the country.

Mrs Beswick wants people to see the real bravery those battling cancer — and their families — go through on a daily basis.

Now they have created a Facebook group showing harrowing images of their youngsters as they were diagnosed, went through treatment and bravely battled cancer on the oncology ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital — where Lily was treated until she died in 2012.

Mrs Beswick, of Capitol Close, Smithills, said she was initially upset when people started posting the “no make-up selfies”.

She added: “I’ll admit I didn’t like it at first. I just found it quite self-indulgent. All that kept popping up was: ‘Here’s my no make-up selfie to help save lives through Cancer Research.’

Then there were all the comments below like: ‘You still look great hun.’

“But really, just putting a picture of yourself on Facebook isn’t saving anyone’s life. It might raise some awareness but it doesn’t save lives — it didn’t save Lily’s life.

“Of course, raising £8 million is not to be sniffed at and it will do a lot of good, but I admit — initially I was quite upset.”

Yet Mrs Beswick was not alone in her distaste for the Facebook trend and discovered other parents of youngsters with cancer felt the same.

She said: “I posted a comment on one of the Facebook groups and then a photo of Lily and me when she was in hospital.

“I wrote that I had no make-up on because everyday is a no make-up day when you’re a mum caring for a child with cancer.

“I didn’t touch it for months or have my hair done when Lily was poorly — I was lucky if I had time for a shower. It was never a priority because I was thinking about the next lot of medication or whether she had eaten.

“And that’s what the other mums were saying. You’re just so consumed by them getting better you don’t think of anything else.”

The Facebook group — called ‘Faces of Ward 84’ — has been created by fellow mum Eleanor Massey and attracted more than 2,000 “likes” in the first 24 hours of going live.

The group is planning to raise awareness of other vital services involved in cancer care such as donating blood, platelets and bone marrow as well as Macmillan support.

Cancer fighter Katie Dodd, aged five from Farnworth, is also featured on the Facebook page.

Her mum, Rebecca Dodd, said: “All of the parents on ward 84 support each other — which is why we’ve contributed to the new Facebook page.

“Words cannot describe how tough it is when you’re caring for a child with cancer and unless you’ve been through it, you can’t understand what it’s like. And that’s how it should be. I would never wish the experience on anybody.

“I can almost under-stand why people might not want to look at photographs of poorly children, because it is so upsetting. But that’s the reality for us.

“I’ve never met some of the other mums in person, quite often we just chat through Facebook. They know exactly what you’re going through.”

Katie is now recovering from the tumour on her spine that left her unable to walk.

To see the Facebook group, search: “Faces of Ward 84”.

Comments (6)

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6:01pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Coleygiz says...

Putting a no make up selfie didn't save lives itself but the £3 text that we all sent raised more than £2 million for cancer research UK. That will help to save lives so the no make up selfie wasn't self indulgent at all. Well done to all the ladies that took part.
Putting a no make up selfie didn't save lives itself but the £3 text that we all sent raised more than £2 million for cancer research UK. That will help to save lives so the no make up selfie wasn't self indulgent at all. Well done to all the ladies that took part. Coleygiz
  • Score: 5

6:29pm Thu 3 Apr 14

MarkAllRead says...

She's actually correct. Initially there was no charity giving, it was all about women wanting compliments from other women, like the ‘You still look great hun' she cites. Occasionally there was a cancer hashtag appended, but nothing else. Then I saw a few women got called out on their narcissism (by men generally), and then the giving started to happen - kinda retrospectively. Ironically, it was probably pressure from men that led to this turning from the affirmation exercise that women created into one which has had a positive fund raising outcome.
She's actually correct. Initially there was no charity giving, it was all about women wanting compliments from other women, like the ‘You still look great hun' she cites. Occasionally there was a cancer hashtag appended, but nothing else. Then I saw a few women got called out on their narcissism (by men generally), and then the giving started to happen - kinda retrospectively. Ironically, it was probably pressure from men that led to this turning from the affirmation exercise that women created into one which has had a positive fund raising outcome. MarkAllRead
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Thu 3 Apr 14

moss bank park-er says...

For over a week my Facebook was bombarded with ladies posting their 'no makeup selfie'. It was all self indulgent crap that had nothing to do with raising cancer awareness. No mentions of donating or helping cancer research were to be found during this time. It was only after amazing people like this lady highlighted the issue, that the money started to roll in.
For over a week my Facebook was bombarded with ladies posting their 'no makeup selfie'. It was all self indulgent crap that had nothing to do with raising cancer awareness. No mentions of donating or helping cancer research were to be found during this time. It was only after amazing people like this lady highlighted the issue, that the money started to roll in. moss bank park-er
  • Score: 3

8:01pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Lily's Auntie says...

Coleygiz wrote:
Putting a no make up selfie didn't save lives itself but the £3 text that we all sent raised more than £2 million for cancer research UK. That will help to save lives so the no make up selfie wasn't self indulgent at all. Well done to all the ladies that took part.
The text to donate didn't actually come into effect until a few days after the no make up selfie trend started so for the first couple of days there was a lot of self indulgent comments posted! I saw loads. Once Cancer Research UK sent the text code out, then the whole purpose of the trend changed which was fantastic and well done to everyone who donated. It's brilliant that so munching has been raised which will go a long way to help th likes of those beutiful children on Ward 84 x
[quote][p][bold]Coleygiz[/bold] wrote: Putting a no make up selfie didn't save lives itself but the £3 text that we all sent raised more than £2 million for cancer research UK. That will help to save lives so the no make up selfie wasn't self indulgent at all. Well done to all the ladies that took part.[/p][/quote]The text to donate didn't actually come into effect until a few days after the no make up selfie trend started so for the first couple of days there was a lot of self indulgent comments posted! I saw loads. Once Cancer Research UK sent the text code out, then the whole purpose of the trend changed which was fantastic and well done to everyone who donated. It's brilliant that so munching has been raised which will go a long way to help th likes of those beutiful children on Ward 84 x Lily's Auntie
  • Score: 2

9:22pm Thu 3 Apr 14

BG2012 says...

I find this article really bad, criticising people for trying to make a difference!! The no make up selfies DID raise awareness and did raise money to help save these poorly sick children. Why people had to turn this into a negative is beyond me! When they first started appearing on facebook and I saw all the cancer hashtags, I did make a concious decision to check myself (breast check, moles etc) and then the following day I booked in for my smear which I had previously been putting off! So well done everyone!!
I find this article really bad, criticising people for trying to make a difference!! The no make up selfies DID raise awareness and did raise money to help save these poorly sick children. Why people had to turn this into a negative is beyond me! When they first started appearing on facebook and I saw all the cancer hashtags, I did make a concious decision to check myself (breast check, moles etc) and then the following day I booked in for my smear which I had previously been putting off! So well done everyone!! BG2012
  • Score: 0

9:50pm Thu 3 Apr 14

ktk337452 says...

I would argue that the money wasn't raised by the selfies per se, but because a huge amount of people reacted by suggesting some 'real' action be taken on the back of them. Like many, at first I felt upset at what seemed to be a trivial game which didn't seem to have much purpose. However, today I can only feel positive about the amount of money raised and cannot argue the fact that the situation as a whole has definitely brought awareness. Personally, I now have no issue with the selfies providing they post a link or suggestion as to how to donate/contribute x x
I would argue that the money wasn't raised by the selfies per se, but because a huge amount of people reacted by suggesting some 'real' action be taken on the back of them. Like many, at first I felt upset at what seemed to be a trivial game which didn't seem to have much purpose. However, today I can only feel positive about the amount of money raised and cannot argue the fact that the situation as a whole has definitely brought awareness. Personally, I now have no issue with the selfies providing they post a link or suggestion as to how to donate/contribute x x ktk337452
  • Score: 0

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