Jennifer and Sally are Ab Fab
Looking at the pictures in the newspaper this week of comedienne and actress, Jennifer Saunders, as she attended the ballet in London, those of us who have gone through chemo, will recognise her gorgeous thick crop of grey hair.
Jennifer, is best known for the hit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous and her comedy partnership with Dawn French. She discovered a lump in her breast last autumn 2009 and had finished her treatment by June this year.
Meanwhile Sally Dynevor, the actress who plays Sally Webster in Coronation Street is looking absolutely gorgeous with her own short crop. Sally wears a wig on the soap opera, but is itching to ditch the wig in the New Year.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Sally says “It just drives me mad. I’ve got my own hair now, but it’s really short – although everyone says it’s great and looks really funky”.
Yet to Sally it still screams ‘cancer’, and because of this she will be glad to consign it to the bin.
“I really don’t want to be defined by it, and I’ve moved on “
Sally’s real life imitating art story is quite incredible. By a dreadful coincidence, on the very day she had been filming scenes in which her Coronation Street character was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was told she had breast cancer in real life.
‘I remember thinking, “No, you’ve got mixed up. I’ve just been playing these scenes.”‘ It was for real, however, and now she accepts that it was the authenticity of the scripts that made her seek medical help in the first place.
Sally admits, that even while waiting for the biopsy results, she was privately thinking it would amount to nothing, but that ‘I could use some of the angst in the performance’. She asked to be allowed to play some of her pivotal scenes before she received her own medical news.
A lumpectomy, performed two days after her diagnosis, showed that the cancer had spread, and chemotherapy was needed, which ‘in a way was worse than the diagnosis’.
She jokes that her family ‘tried to make chemo fun’, but there is no doubt that it was a gruelling process.
When she came back to work she told her bosses she would like her name on the credits to be changed from Sally Whittaker, her stage name, to Sally Dynevor, her married one.
‘The cancer storyline was the most important in all my years playing Sally,’ she says. ‘It has been a turning point because it changed both our lives. There’s no storyline they could give me now that I could feel as strongly about as that one.’
And Sally’s words of advice to those newly diagnosed?
Other women are diagnosed all the time, and I just want to say to them that you will, hopefully, get through it. I don’t want to say, “Always be positive”, because some days you aren’t, but there is a life after it.