It is with a very heavy heart that we received the news that Elly Mayday passed away on the 1st of March. Elly was diagnosed with low grade serous ovarian cancer at 25. She was just shy of her 31st birthday. She was a courageous and inspiring woman with a strong social conscience.
She used her position as a plus sized model to raise awareness about body positivity. Like most women, it took many visits, to muliple doctors, over a long period of time, to get a correct diagnosis of ovarian cancer. When she was diagnosed with low grade serous she added ovarian cancer advocate to her list of skills. She amassed an impressive 400K+ following on facebook. She tirelessly used her public profile to advance ovarian cancer causes.
Last year on the 8th of May, World Ovarian Cancer Day she bravely stood in Times Square. Wearing only her underwear, scar on display, holding a sign for awareness. She spoke at conferences and to reporters. She contributed to blog articles, videos and even a film to spread her message. She was courageous, compassionate and articulate.
She set an example the rest of us can only hope to emulate. It would have been so easy for Elly to turn inwards when she heard those awful words you have cancer. Instead she choose to use her misfortune to make the lives of so many other women better.
For women with low grade serous ovarian cancer Elly was an example to look up to. She was young, but handled her situation with so much grace and maturity. She reminded us that despite the extreme hardships, there was so much beauty to be had in life. By being so honest and open with her cancer journey she helped us be open too.
If this is the first time you have heard her name, we encourage you to look her up. She posted her content under Elly Mayday with the tag #onehellovawoman. Her family knew her as Ashley Luther. This awful disease took her far too soon. Her passing has left a huge hole in all our hearts.
*Elly kindly gave Cure Our Ovarian Cancer permission to use her beautiful heart scar photo for our website. It provided the inspiration for our logo. You can read about her story behind the photo here.
Update: Posthumously released in February 2020. Elly Mayday features in Episode 4 of the moving Ovarshare Podcast recorded by fellow low-grade serous woman Kristen Larsen. You can also watch Elly in the inspiring body positivity movie A Perfect 14, now available for pre-order on iTunes.