Horror behind model’s stabbing pain
Bernadette Hagans thought she had hit her leg against a box when she started to get a twinge in her right leg.
The 22-year-old from Belfast in Northern Ireland, was moving apartment when she noticed a stabbing pain in her leg, but put it down to bashing it against one of the packed boxes and didn't think anything of it.
Over the next few months the pain started to worsen and in January 2018, Ms Hagans noticed a tiny bump - the shape of a pea.
It promoted her to book an appointment with her local GP but they diagnosed it as a harmless fatty lump.
However, as the pain grew steadily worse she was referred to hospital for tests which confirmed she had synovial sarcoma, an aggressive cancer of soft tissue.
The results showed the lump had wrapped around her nerves and blood vessels.
She was told there was "only one option" to save her life and would have to consider amputating her leg, The Sun reported.
"If it was my leg or my life, then they could take my leg. Good riddance!' she said and underwent surgery in October 2018 to remove her right leg at the knee.
Upon being told she would be given prosthetic limb, Ms Hagans said: "It sounds crazy, but I've always been a positive person - I really wasn't that upset," she said.
"There are so many people out there worse off than me - even kids with cancer. I'd already had 22 good years."
By October 2018, the day before Halloween, Ms Hagans underwent a six-hour operation to remove her right leg just below her knee to eradicate the cancer.
She said she has always been a joker and it is what helped her keep a positive attitude.
Ms Hagans recalled making a joke to her mother about "fetching her some blood" because she had the "perfect Halloween costume".
"I couldn't help it, I've always been a joker, it's just my way of coping. Always look on the lighter side of life," she told The Sun.
A couple of months later scans showed that Ms Hagans was cancer free.
She was fitted with prosthetic leg and to the shock of her physiotherapists, had learned to walk again in just 10 days.
"I decided there was no point hiding my disability, so soon I was back in my little strappy dresses, with my prosthetic on show, on nights out with my mates," she said.
Her Instagram is filled with fashionable photos of her confidently posing with her prosthetic leg.
In fact she struck a contract with London-based Zebedee Management, which specialises in models with disabilities.
"It is crazy, I was on Instagram in January and saw a post about someone looking for disabled models and I commented saying this is great and this agency started messaging me when they saw I had had an amputation," she told BelfastLive.
"They asked me to come and meet them because they wanted to represent me, I told them to wait until I could walk again and then when I was discharged they got in touch and mid-February I flew to London to meet them and I was signed."
Last month she was booked to model a new clothing collection from a well-known sports brand which many of her followers have deemed remarkable considering she only learned to walk again in January this year.
"Go Girl you look Amazing," one follower said on her recent Instagram post on the set of a photo shoot
"Unreallllllll," said another.
Ms Hagans explained she didn't want to hide her disability or for it to change anything and was eager to "get on with life".
"Maybe I could be the world's first amputee supermodel," she said.
"Life's too short to think about what might have been. The doctors told me it was my leg or my life, so it was as simple as that."