Harrogate cancer survivor's remarkable story of hope and the artwork that stunned her

Harrogate cancer survivor Fiona Green with artist Anita Bowerman whose sculptures so moved her at Castle Howard.Harrogate cancer survivor Fiona Green with artist Anita Bowerman whose sculptures so moved her at Castle Howard.
Harrogate cancer survivor Fiona Green with artist Anita Bowerman whose sculptures so moved her at Castle Howard.
When Harrogate's Fiona Green visited Castle Howard in July, she was stunned to discover a sculpture dedicated to people living with and after cancer in Yorkshire.

Having lived with cancer for 12 years, the 51-year-old was especially touched by the display of 191 stainless-steel wellington boots at one of the UK's finest stately homes.

The artwork was created by acclaimed Harrogate artist Anita Bowerman as part of Yorkshire Cancer Research’s summer fundraising campaign Give It Some Welly.

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Each of the wellies had been designed to represent 1000 people in the region who are currently living with or have survived cancer.

The installation was open to the public in July and August on the south front in the grounds of Castle Howard near York.

Fiona said: “My husband and I had just bought a new caravan and we’d gone on one of our first outings in it.

"We’d never been to Castle Howard before and we thought it looked like a lovely place.

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“We’d been walking around the gardens when we came across the tree. I saw the wellies and read the sign explaining what they were for and I realised it was about me, because each welly represented somebody that had been affected by cancer in Yorkshire.”

Fiona was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She was successfully treated and believed she had been cured.

But three years ago, she had a chest X-ray which showed cancer in her bones.

And, last year, doctors found cancer in her other breast.

She said: “Having gone through all that, it was lovely to be able to get away and enjoy life without thinking of treatments – and then my husband pointed out the tree to me. I was blown away by it.”

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Fiona was so moved by the art that she set up a fundraiser on her Facebook page, raising more than £350 for research.

Fiona said: “I just thought how lovely it was that somebody had taken the time to think of us.

"Sometimes it feels like you’re trudging through mud when you’re dealing with cancer, so the welly really meant something to me as a symbol of how my life has been.

"Then you get sunshine days when you find that somebody like Anita has created something so wonderful.”

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Following her fundraising, Fiona was invited to visit Anita Bowerman’s Dove Tree Art Gallery in Harrogate, where she was presented with her very own stainless-steel welly taken from the display.

“Fiona got in touch with me via my Facebook Page and sent me a photograph of her standing under the tree with her dog with a very poignant message she had written.

“I felt so touched that the tree art installation I had created had meant so much to her. I thought her story needed to be shared far and wide, as Yorkshire Cancer Research supports so many people.

"It was so lovely to finally meet her at my Dove Tree Art Gallery in Harrogate and be able to give her a stainless-steel boot.”

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Fiona says her remarkable story of hope and survival is not only down to the support she has received from everyone but also her own positive mental outlook.

Fiona said: “I believe the reason I’m here today is because I’ve got a positive attitude, I’ve got fantastic family and friends, and I’ve got a great team at the hospital in Leeds.

"Thanks to Yorkshire Cancer Research, I’m still here, and I really want to get that point across to everyone.

"Research is incredibly important and has led to so many amazing developments in the treatment of cancer.

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“It’s fantastic to have my own welly, not just for me but to represent all the other people who are going through cancer too. I’ll put it in pride of place.”

The stainless-steel wellies are now available to purchase in Yorkshire Cancer Research’s online shop.

Visit http://bit.ly/WellySculpture

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