Anything's possible with a postitive attitude and some amazing lip gloss, says tumour sufferer Karen Jones (From St Helens Star)
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Anything's possible with a postitive attitude and some amazing lip gloss, says tumour sufferer Karen Jones
Karen Jones, inspirational winner of the Beauty Before Age competition, in her work clothes... she works on an oil refinery
WHEN brain tumour sufferer Karen Jones spotted her favourite make-up brand was running a campaign looking for ‘real women’ she didn’t think twice about entering.
Karen, of Sutton, believed she was everything the Illamasqua, ‘Beauty Before Age – Generation Q’ competition was looking for... and boy was she proved right after being named winner of the glamour promotion.
As an oil refinery worker, overalls, hardhats and gloves make up her daily wardrobe.
But she still manages to add a little glam to her uniform with the help of her make-up kit – but life out there is a world apart from the catwalk or photographic studio.
Karen, aged 45, has also had her fair share of trauma after being diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a rare form of non-cancerous brain tumour. And earlier this year she split from her husband.
But the mother-of-one prides herself on her upbeat and positive attitude to life and has not let the illness slow her down or dampen her inspirational attitude.
Karen told the Star: “The advert for the competition said they were looking for real people, who refuse to be a watered down version of their former selves once they reached a certain age.
“As soon as I read that, I thought this is me.”
Remarkably, she did not tell Illamasqua, about her illness until after winning the competition and being asked to do a professional photo shoot for images will be used throughout the UK.
Karen said: “They didn’t know that I have a tumour. I didn’t want to say anything or people to think they’ve just let me win out of sympathy.
“If left untreated the tumour can cause death as they are erratic in their growth, some grow, some grow then stop and can start again at any point. About one in every 100,000 people has one. Mine has now doubled in size and is beginning to press on my brain stem, hence it needs treating ASAP.
“I would like to show people that anything is possible with a positive outlook on life, a smile and some amazing lip gloss.”
Karen’s experimental attitude towards fashion and make-up was picked upon by Illamasqua experts unaware of her condition.
She added: “When I was at the shoot they asked me to wear a pink wig. It is funny because I thought I’m going to have to get used to a wig anyway once my treatment starts.
“I’m not going to let it get the better of me, I’ve faced the facts and now I just have to get on with it. What’s the point in letting it get me down?”
Karen first noticed the symptoms of her condition two years ago on holiday in Ibiza with her son, Adam who was 21 at the time.
She said: “It was him that told me to look into the problems I was having with my hearing.
“Now I want to raise awareness of acoustic neuroma sufferers everywhere and encourage people who have any doubts to get checked.”
The ‘Generation Q’ campaign photo shoot was not the standard day in the office for Karen who works at an oil refinery.
She added: “The whole experience is such a wonderful, inspiring and uplifting one that I will keep in my heart with me forever. I have had one of the worst years of my life and this is the balance for that.
“I will start six weeks intensive radiation therapy at Clatterbridge Hospital with 30 sessions of radiation which will probably mean hair loss and me being quite poorly for eight to 10 weeks but come 2013 I will be ready to take on the world.
“Hopefully my tumour will stop growing, my hair will grow back and I'll be fighting fit again and I can look back at the positives.” Illamasqua launched the ‘Generation Q’ campaign this month and can be seen in stores throughout the UK and online at illamasqua.com.