HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. (KOIN) — Lisa Layton describes herself as “really short and maybe a little fluffy,” but this Happy Valley mom will soon be on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
“When I got the news that I was going to be in Fashion Week I was jumping up and down so excited,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Being under 5 feet tall I never imagined I’d get to be a model, in New York on a catwalk.”
She and 20 survivors from across the country will be featured and honored during a Survivor’s Showcase on Saturday in New York.
Layton is in the “midst of a really crummy cancer” and in 2013 was told she had no more than a year to live.
She has cholangiocarcinoma (pronounced: co-lan-geo-carcinoma) which is a rare form of liver and bile duct cancer.
She said she remembers going to the American Girl store with her daughters and sobbing because she thought it “would be the last time I would be able to buy my children dolls and clothes.”
But she didn’t give up and found a doctor at OHSU that wanted to try an aggressive surgery.
The surgery and “lots of chemotherapy” has extended her life. “And I’m really hoping to be around for a long, long time.”
Lisa said she focuses on living and her children, Elizabeth and Annalise, keep her going.
“I actually just want to slow down time. I savor, really, every day and I like just doing the simple things, like helping them with their bath and snuggling with them at night.”
When she learned she was going to New York for Fashion Week, she said she was thrilled.
“This is going to be a life-affirming experience to have 20 other people who understand and who can model and just have a really good time.”
She might be a little nervous, but she said those nerves are nothing compared to being told she has Stage 4 cancer and getting CT scans every 3 months.
“We get to have our hair and makeup done actually next to real models,” she said.
She’ll wear a donated red dress by designer Dalia MacPhee. “I love sparkles and bows.”
Her cancer has spread to her lungs, but she wants to give others a glimmer of hope. She couldn’t be more honored as she models hope, awareness and heart.
“I live with such intention and I think it’s really given me perspective and a joy, if you will.”
It’s also part of her motto in life:
“Live! Live! Live! And and as I go down that runway it’s just a life affirming experience.”