GLAMOUR: What inspired the first Forever Changed creation?
Addi: I believe that we are all butterflies having a human experience. Moving very slowly, at first, through the cocoon phase and before we know it, we have the chance to fly and then the cycle of transformation and metamorphosis begins all over again. This biological miracle has given me the courage and strength to be inspired enough to design the creation, which came after my Forever Changed Awareness campaign and my reluctance of becoming a tired battle-weary cancer warrior. I then welcomed the knowledge that the Forever Changed brand will indeed outlive me and my aim was to create a fashion trend with meaning, hope and a reminder for us to count our blessings. As I’m involved in the industry of performing arts plus casting for TV commercials and feature films. I’m an avid follower of style, GLAMOUR and fashion so I was delighted to see that turbans and fabric including butterflies were included in ranges seen on many of the famous catwalks and worn and admired by fashionistas around the world.
GLAMOUR: Could you tell us a bit about the connection with Bella Donna scarves?
Addi: Bella Donna means beautiful lady in Italian and when I saw the flyer about the scarves in the oncology rooms on my first visit, I longed for the time that I felt beautiful. I contacted the owner Lizel Wheller and discovered that she’s also a proud warrior and felt that our connecting was divine intervention. She took a leap of faith with me when I explained to her that I wanted to leave a legacy by going into business with her by designing the Forever Changed range of turbans and Butterfly Blessings range of scarves instead of becoming a competitor, seeing as we have so much in common. I felt that together we offer a message of hope not only to warriors but to fashion followers of all ages.
GLAMOUR: What do people find most surprising about your story?
Addi: My candid approach to the injustice that I believe I’ve endured with my need to warn others about medical negligence. Probably also the fact that I’ve found meaning and purpose through this unexpected and gruelling journey with the support of my life partner, close family, friends and all the butterflies around me who have become the wind beneath my wings. I also don’t see myself any more important than the millions of other warriors, just one who has the platform to speak out.
GLAMOUR: What do you hope that others will learn from your experience, and from Forever Changed?
Addi: I hope that the Forever Changed campaign will save one life at a time by encouraging others to be more aware and trusting than I was and that they will not have to endure the pain that I’ve gone through by trusting the word of medical professionals. I believe that my campaign can help others to confront the harsh realities that are staring all of us in the face and not be blinded by the hope that doctors portray of cures. There are simply no cures currently for cancer, although there have been incredible leaps forward in the research and development of treatment. I hope that others will see that the only thing left for us to do is to choose how easily we go through the journey that knows no boundaries of age, race, gender or fitness levels. We can find healthier ways of eating and more peaceful ways of relationships with others including more loving relations with ourselves. I hope that other warriors will see themselves as being forever blessed, forever grateful and remain forever changed. In being forever changed, I honour fallen warriors and celebrate their lives as I know that those who have walked through the fire, leave sparks of light wherever they go.
GLAMOUR: What’s next for Forever Changed?
Addi: Forever Changed will continue to inspire others through: fundraisers, public service announcements, music videos and songs, clothing designs, the Forever Changed Performers Fund which is being established to encourage and inspire young performers to spread their wings and show the world the talent that we have in South Africa.