British supermodel Naomi Campbell has thrown her support behind a major breast cancer awareness campaign after witnessing the devastating effects of the disease on her own family.
The catwalk beauty officially opened a new cancer research unit at a London hospital this week (beg09Feb09) and used the opportunity to open up about her mother's brush with the killer illness.
Campbell's mum, Valerie, was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer but after several months of treatment, she is said to be in remission.
And Campbell admits it has been a tough time for all of her relatives.
She says, "It's something that's never really happened in my family, so it was researching, reading a lot of books, finding out about how to take care of her, what was the best treatment and where to get the best treatment.
"It just made me more aware because up until that point I hadn't got checked on a regular basis like you should. I heard about breast cancer but I just thought it's never going to happen to me. But now I've learnt it doesn't discriminate, this disease, it can happen to anybody. As someone who's seen breast cancer first hand I know it can be a devastating disease."
The $6 million (£4.2 million) unit at London's Guy's Hospital has been funded by charity organisation Breakthrough Breast Cancer and is the first of its kind in the U.K.