By Amanda Cabot
A TCNJ course “New Media and Health Communication”, taught by Dr. Yifeng Hu, was lucky enough to have Elly Mayday pay a visit to the class on March 5, 2018. The Canadian model had a fireside chat with Dr. Hu and the class about how she used social media to convey the message she has about cancer and body image. Mayday began as a plus size model who preached body positivity to her growing fan base. To her shock, at the age of 25, she was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. Instead of focusing on the hardships she was about to encounter, she looked at how she could turn her situation into something that could help other people.
Mayday shared her story with the world and did not hold back. She included every detail about her diagnosis and her remission. Not only was she extremely open, but she also was, and still is, extremely interactive with those who follow her. On multiple social media platforms, Mayday answers questions and gives advice to those who are also dealing with cancer in their lives. She has very successful Facebook and Instagram pages and also mentioned her involvement on YouTube. Her “#OneHellOvaWoman” movement that empowers women with ovarian cancer is a prime example of how social media can connect and help endless amounts of people. Aside from cancer, Mayday also brings awareness to other important concepts like body positivity and women empowerment. She models with her scars from her hysterectomy visible and even said in an Instagram post, “I love my scars so much that I’m sad to see them fade.” The idea that beauty can be whatever you want is one that Mayday advocates for. She also explained to the class how women often have problems with late diagnoses because many doctors do not take women as seriously as men when they say there is something wrong. She has personal experience with this.
As a strong woman who has overcome many struggles, Elly Mayday is an inspiration to many. It was an honor for the class to be able to interact up close with her and ask her questions, which she graciously answered. Her story contributed to the class theme of how health and new media are connected today, and was a great way to see what was learned in the classroom truly come to life.