British supermodel Naomi Campbell's mother has divulged how her famous daughter was a big support for her during her ordeal with breast cancer.
In 2005, Valerie Campbell was told that the lumps under her right arm, which she had previously been assured were benign, were diagnosed as life-threatening cancer that needed immediate surgery.
"But when the doctor told me more than two years ago I had cancer and it was at a very advanced stage, I couldn't take his words in. When he said the cancer was in my right breast and it had to go if I wanted to live, it felt as if he were talking about someone else,' the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"At first I didn't want anyone, especially my children, to know because I didn't want to worry them. But I was persuaded first to call Naomi and then to tell my 21-year-old son Pierre, who had just returned from New York. He's a drama student there.
"Pierre pretty much collapsed in tears when I told him. That was the only time that I really broke down because it was then that I truly recognised that the cancer might actually kill me, as I suppose it still could,' she added.
However, the 55-year-old said that her daughter was 'rock solid' and dropped all her assignments to be at her side.
"My daughter was amazing, Despite her fears for me, she was rock solid. She was on assignment somewhere in Asia when my sister rang to tell her,' she said.
"She was ready to drop everything to be by my side. I think she was going through a court case with one of her employees and she had recently lost a very close friend to breast cancer. But she pulled out all the stops to be with me when I needed her most.
"Naomi and I have always been close and I believe she had faith that God would somehow give us the strength to cope with whatever the outcome,' she said.
Valerie also admitted that she and her daughter have had their disagreements.
"We've had our disagreements over the year. I've not always approved of some of the things she's done. We had a big row over the Madonna book [Naomi was reportedly paid 100,000 pounds to appear in Madonna's soft-porn coffee-table book, Sex] because I didn't think it was necessary for her to do something so sexually explicit,' she said.
"I've also had my say about other aspects of her life. I'm not afraid to tell her when she is in the wrong. When that happens we have it out and the phone may get slammed. I'm not saying that she's a saint. I know that she has a sharp tongue and quick-fire temper, but there isn't an ounce of real spitefulness in her.
"She's like me in that we might blow up in an instant, but once it's over it's forgotten. There's no malice in her. Even when Jodie Kidd called her a "f****** monster" last month, Naomi didn't take it to heart,' she said.
After enduring the ordeal, Valerie said that all that counts is that she is alive.
"But I'm alive and that's what counts. You've got to be strong mentally and keep a positive outlook. If anything, this disease has made me more determined than ever not to let life slip by, but to go out there and enjoy it to the full," she said.
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