Model and body positivity activist dies from ovarian cancer at 30
A trailblazing Saskatchewan-born model and body positivity advocate, who documented her a long struggle with ovarian cancer on social media, has died from the disease at just 30 years old.
Born Ashley Luther, she took on the name Elly Mayday, and moved to British Columbia where she often appeared in modelling campaigns for the local Forever Yours Lingerie shop.
Before her cancer diagnosis five years ago, she began appearing in a documentary about the challenges she faced while launching a modelling career as a plus-size model.
“She really was one of the pioneers in leading the movement for more equality for curvy women everywhere,” Amanda Peterson, one of her friends, told CTV Vancouver.
Mayday was committed to showing all sides of cancer and agreed to continue filming the documentary even after her diagnosis.
“She was so raw,” said Giovanna Morales, the director of the documentary “A Perfect 14,” which makes its Canadian debut on Thursday. “She was so special to share something so difficult.”
Mayday did not shy away from the illness on social media either. She frequently shared photos of herself posing in lingerie with surgery scars and a bald head with her more than 90,000 Instagram followers.
Mayday, who underwent chemotherapy and also had a hysterectomy in an attempt to treat her ovarian cancer, was initially misdiagnosed.
Ovarian cancer is sometimes referred to as a silent killer because its symptoms – back pain, abdominal bloating, weight loss and pelvic discomfort – can go unnoticed for so long or are mistaken for other conditions.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the third most common reproductive cancer for women and the most fatal. Approximately 2,800 Canadian women were diagnosed with the disease in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Roughly 1,800 of them died.