The ladies who started a lifesaver

Styling: Anna Woodham. Make-up: Julia Wren at Carol Hayes Management with By Terry. Hair: Matthew Wade of Carol Hayes Management. Chloe wears suit, Kwaidan Editions. Blouse, gear, both theoutnet.com. Shoes, Kurt Geiger. Tamara wears a blazer and trousers, Diane Von Furstenberg. Shirt, Nanushka, both theoutnet.com. Shoes, Giambattista Valli, David M. Benett / Getty Images for Mulberry. Additional reporting: Charlotte Vossen

From it girls to women on missions, Tamara Beckwith Veroni and Chloe Delevingne are determined to talk about gynecological Cancer. They tell Kate Spicer why The cause means so much to them

Tamara Beckwith Veroni's mother Paula never looked sick. She kept her hair for a long time. When she lost it, that was a big problem – mom always had that perfect blonde helmet. That's how my father knew the cancer had moved. She sat on the bed, waiting to go to dinner fully dressed and normally, except for her hair, which was like Worzel Gummidge. Dad said, "What's wrong with your hair?" Mama wasn't a prankster, not like me, and she just said, "What do you mean?" Tamara laughs with affection even though what we are talking about goes to a terrible place. "It's only funny because it was her hair. He knew right away that it was very bad. The cancer had got into her brain."

You were in Puerto Rico at the time and a time at a local hospital followed. "It was difficult." Tamara falls silent unusually quietly. We're in the studio where I met her and Chloe Delevingne, who is one of the other co-founders of her gynecological cancer charity, The Lady Garden Foundation (and the big sister of models / actresses Cara and Poppy).

"Dad won't talk about it …" Tamara pauses. "He must have been so scared. They had been married since they were 20."

These two willowy English "gels" come from a Never Explain, Never Complain culture, but Tamara says, "These stories are important, that's why I'm discussing them. Movember (the prostate and testicular cancer awareness campaign) was a game changer. I want the same do for women. ”In the nine years since Tamara's mother died from uterine lining cancer and the six years since the Lady Garden Foundation was created by women whose lives have been affected by any of the gynecological cancers (ovarian cancer) (cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulval) raised £ 800,000 to fund research.

Survival rates for gynecological cancers are low – nearly 37 percent versus 84 percent for breast cancer. One of the main reasons for this is a lack of awareness of symptoms and women's reluctance to prioritize their sexual health. "They're known as silent killers because people don't talk about them," says Chloe. "In the developing world, stigma and a lack of screening make them the biggest cancer killers among women."

Tamara adds: "It is important that we have a conscious side to what we do – we don't just collect donations for women." She believes her mother's death would have been avoidable if she had spoken about her symptoms earlier. “She always told Daddy to drive slowly over speed bumps. It wasn't until we put the puzzle together to see what we knew about her symptoms that we realized it was because it was causing her so much pain. "

We sit and watch tears flow down Tamara's face, unable to comfort her. Chloe says, "I want to hug you." Then the default setting is used: humor, stiff upper lip. "And how did you get to Corona?" "Chloe hugged me."

The 50-year-old Tamara is often referred to as a "Socialite and Celebrity Entrepreneur". In the 90s she was one of the original It girls. Her father, Sir Peter Beckwith, and her uncle John are regulars on the Rich List, with a total net worth of around £ 323 million. Her friends include fashion legend Valentino Garavani, Mick Jagger and the few hundred other names that define high society. In a world of belongings, Tamara is definitely a belongings. Chloe's father, Charles, is on the poorer side, with a net worth of around £ 100 million, although the influence has existed for generations through both parents.

From right: Chloe with sisters Cara and Poppy

From right: Chloe with sisters Cara and Poppy

Chloe, 36, differs from the other co-founders of The Lady Garden in that she has not lost a family member to gynecological cancer. “I was 21 and studied biomedicine and tumor biology. My dissertation was on cervical cancer and its connection to the HPV virus. When I examined the symptoms, I noticed that I suffered from three of them. At 21, I was too young to have a smear test, so I called a private doctor and they found I had CIN3, the pre-cancer stage. “She watched the procedure as they removed part of her cervix. It saved her fertility and possibly her life. "I knew that if I had children I would have to be sewn or take progesterone to get the full term." In case she had daily vaginal progesterone suppositories – "Great for a pregnant woman," she says with polite sarcasm.

The Lady Garden Foundation was born out of a series of personal tragedies and a chance meeting between co-founder Mika Simmons and Susana Banerjee, consultant oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. When Chloe heard about the foundation, she said, “I told you my story. I never talked about it. I didn't want to talk about my symptoms, such as pain or bleeding after sex, increased discharge, back pain, or unusual bleeding. I am the most prudish in my family, and when I finally told my sisters that they were shocked. You are much more open. Now of course I can say "vagina" without blushing. When people ask me what I'm doing, I say, “I started the Lady Garden Foundation because I wanted to talk about the vagina.” It's awkward, but it starts a conversation and that's what we're trying to do. “To that end, last year Chloe had a smear test live on Victoria Derbyshire's show, which must have been excruciating. & # 39; But it's worth it. I know this has helped raise awareness. Smear rates are currently at a ten-year low. "

Tamara is a veteran of fundraising as all celebrities who are worth their salt tend to be. She works on the project two days a week on average – unpaid. “It drives my husband crazy. He always says, "Get a real job!" But I've always done this – it's the right thing to do. "

The foundation has achieved a lot and still receives flak. One reviewer said, "They are just classy white London girls talking to other classy white London girls. Where's the diversity?"

I directed this criticism to Chloe who says, “With the reach of social media, the foundation can now go far and wide. The footage I smeared in has been viewed a million times – and is used by a charity to show juvenile sexual abuse survivors how quick and painless it is. "

I tell her that she is often described as a "philanthropist, socialist and model". She winces. "Can't I just co-found The Lady Garden and stand up for women's sexual health?" Next year when I go back to college (to train as a midwife or family doctor – she has yet to decide) I can add a student to that too. Then I can be more useful on site. The foundation just wants to help people. "

Be a lady ... Chloe wears a Lady Garden Foundation sweater

Be a lady … Chloe wears a Lady Garden Foundation sweater

H.how to recognize The symptoms

The top gynecological cancers – and the signs to look out for

cervical cancer

Mainly affects sexually active women between 30 and 45 years old. Symptoms include …

★ Vaginal bleeding that may occur during or after sex between periods, or new bleeding after you go through menopause.

Ovarian cancer is difficult to see. The symptoms are …

★ Feeling bloated all the time.

★ A swollen stomach and discomfort

in your stomach or pelvic area.

★ Feeling full quickly when eating or losing appetite.

★ You need to urinate more or more urgently than usual.

Uterine cancer is more common in women who have gone through menopause. The main symptoms are …

★ vaginal bleeding.

★ Pain in the lower abdomen and during sex.

Vaginal cancer is one of the rarest gynecological cancers. The symptoms to look out for are …

★ Postmenopausal vaginal bleeding.

★ bleeding after sex; Pain during sex.

★ bleeding between periods.

★ Blood-stained vaginal discharge.

★ A lump or itch in your vagina.

★ Pain when urinating or when you urinate a lot.

Vulval cancer is rare in women under the age of 50. Symptoms include …

★ Persistent itching in the vulva.

★ pain, pain, or tenderness in the vulva.

A cashmere sweater priced at £ 249, designed exclusively for the Foundation by Malin Darlin, is available now at ladygardenfoundation.com/shop or malindarlin.com. All profits will go to the Lady Garden Foundation

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