Giffords Circus creator, 46, with terminal cancer has just a year to live but refuses to ‘hide her illness’ from her twins, 9, because she wants them to come to terms with her death while she’s still alive
- Nell Gifford, 46, spoke about her circus, which she created with her ex husband
- The circus creator was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 after finding a lump
- Mother to nine-year-old twins she said she hates secrets and they are ‘corrosive’
A circus creator, who has been given one year to live after a terminal breast cancer diagnosis, says that she won’t hide her illness.
Nell Gifford, 46, originally from Wiltshire, spoke to the Evening Standard about Giffords Circus, which she created with her ex-husband Toti Gifford in 2000, and how she was honest about her cancer diagnosis with her sons.
Mother to nine-year-old twins, she said: ‘I hate secrets, they are corrosive. The more people are open about cancer the less scary it is.’
Nell was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, after finding a lump in her breast. She has gone on to have three rounds of chemotherapy – losing her hair each time.
Talking about her twins, who also star in her circus, she said: ‘It’s a lot for the children to take on. But if they didn’t know they wouldn’t be processing it, and they will have to sometime. We are doing it together.’
The mother-of-two reveals that she joined at New York State circus at 18 after her mother had an accident falling off a horse
After graduating from Oxford Nell bought an old van and joined the first show that came to town. And for the next few years she worked for many different circuses
In the interview Nell says that she has a ‘poor outlook’ and can’t remember the feeling of not having cancer.
Gifford’s circus tours the country with its performances, this year touring a Summer of Love-inspired show, entitled Xanadu.
Nell went on to say that during her cancer diagnosis the circus has been a lifeline: ‘It always has been. It’s a support system, I’m the happiest I am here on the show. It probably props me up more than I prop it up.’
The mother-of-two reveals that she joined at New York State circus at 18 after her mother had an accident falling off a horse.
Gifford’s circus tours the country with its performances, this year touring a Summer of Love-inspired show, entitled Xanadu
Nell Gifford, 46, from the UK, spoke to the Evening Standard about Gifford’s circus, which she created with her ex husband Toti Gifford in 2000
Revealing to the Daily Mail previously, she wrote: ‘I spent a month travelling New York State, painting the lorries and riding a horse in the parade.
‘I saw a happy place where children and animals played together in the sunshine, and the workplace was a huge, candy-striped tent, full of music. It reminded me so much of my younger years.’
Three years later, after graduating from Oxford, she bought an old van and joined the first show that came to town. And for the next few years she worked for many different circuses.
One of the performers at Giffords circus – which will tour the UK until the end of September
Writing for the Daily Mail about starting her own circus she said: ‘Returning home in 1999, I wanted to breathe new life into the art of circus in Britain, and I shared my dream with a tall, curly-haired boy named Toti Gifford, a landscape gardener whom I’d met on a friend’s farm in Cheltenham between tours.
‘We married that year and immediately started our own circus.
‘We had no equipment or backing – but we did have a deadline, after I persuaded the organisers of the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival that their line-up for May 2000 should include a booking for Gifford’s Circus, as we had decided it should be called.’
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