Burlesque show to bring smiles after hard year

Amanda Bills

Amanda Bills

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A woman who had both her breasts removed due to cancer was given a welcome surprise when her close friend organised a burlesque and cabaret show in her honour.

Amanda Bills is “amazed” by friend Lucy Slessor, from Stamford, who dusted off her contacts book to bring together performers for an entertainment-filled evening at Radius, a function room above The Solstice in Northminster Road.

Lucy and Amanda

Lucy and Amanda

Semi-professional dancer Amanda received the good news a fortnight ago that after 18 weeks of dreadful chemotherapy and a double mastectomy there was no evidence of any cancer left in her body.

But with radiotherapy to target any hidden cancerous cells and the lingering fears that the cancer could return, the ‘cabaresque’ show on October 23 will provide welcome relief after a stressful eight months since the diagnosis.

Amanda (41) of Exton, Rutland, said: “I can’t wait to go and see it but I will just be so jealous I’m not in it.

“It’s amazing everyone is giving up their time to do this.”

The two friends grew close thanks to a love of dance but they have also both been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia which limits their activities.

For accountant Amanda, who performed on Sunday Night Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End, it meant giving up her dancing.

Lucy, meanwhile, has to use a wheelchair during the colder months. The 41-year-old said: “When I was first diagnosed with my painful condition it was awful. I could not leave the house for a year.

“I decided one day to write a show which I put on two years running. It was sheer determination - when I decide something I go for it 110 per cent.”

The show sold out at the Stamford Arts Centre in 2009 and filled a large part of the Stamford Corn Exchange in 2010. And Lucy is hoping that her latest show for burlesque and cabaret fan Amanda will leave visitors with a lasting impression.

She said: “It’s a celebration of what it is to be alive and be proud of your body. I believe we should all be really happy to be what we are.

“More than anything I hope we raise a lot of money for Cancer Research UK and that people leave with a smile on their face.”

Ticket-holders are being encouraged to bring photos of people who have had cancer to put on a memory wall.

The show starts at 8pm. Tickets cost £15 on the door or £13.20 at http://www.wegottickets.com/event/316340.

The dress code is swing style, rockabilly, Moulin Rouge and suits for men.

Amanda blogs about her fight against cancer at http://ajscancerjourney.blogspot.co.uk/.