Model who had her leg amputated to beat rare cancer features in Primark campaign

Last year Bernadette Hagans had her leg amputated after being diagnosed with a rare cancer called synovial sarcoma.

But Bernadette’s experience led her to be signed by a modelling agency – and now she’s one of the faces of a Primark campaign.

Bernadette stars in the shots for the store’s new Toy Story 4 range, to celebrate the release of the film this summer.

She tells ‘Working with Primark was so much fun. It was an amazing opportunity. I loved the set and all of the team.

‘The photos and adverts have turned out brilliantly and I can’t wait for the rest of the photos to be released when the collection drops in June.

‘I still haven’t posted about it myself but so many people have noticed and are congratulating me. Everyone loves Primark and I’m so proud that I got to work with them.’

Bernadette, 23, from Belfast, was diagnosed back in 2017 when she noticed a pain in her calf. She’d recently moved house and thought it was just down to climbing the stairs to her top floor apartment.

Eventually, the pain got worse and she could feel a bump in her leg. By December that year, it was so painful, she found it hard to walk and visited her GP.

Initially she was told it was a lipoma – a benign tumour made of fat tissue, but after repeated trips to her doctor, she was sent for an ultrasound in May last year.

After further scans and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer on 20 August 2018.

She was told that is the tumour was growing around her nerves and blood vessels, she would need an urgent amputation.

On 30 October, her right leg was amputated – but Bernadette was determined not to let it stop her.

She learned how to walk with a prosthetic leg and found that she now has lots of opportunities.

She was signed by Zebedee Management, a modelling agency specialising in models with disabilities, and says it has led to lots of exciting projects, including working with Primark.

Bernadette adds: ‘I’ve been doing a lot of different things – from TV and radio to modelling.

‘I’ve had to keep so many things secret and I’m so excited for when I can talk about those.

‘Everyone has been so supportive and it just keeps me motivated to be exactly who I am and keep doing things I never thought I’d be able to do. I’m excited for the future.’

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