CELEBRITY

Celebrity Apprentice star Camilla Franks’ harrowing health battle

Celebrity Apprentice’s warrior woman has been an inspiration during trying times.
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Kaftan queen Camilla Franks is about to appear on Celebrity Apprentice as she battles a boardroom full of other stars to impress Lord Alan Sugar.

But no matter how fierce the competition may be, it’s nothing compared to the health battle the 45-year-old has been fighting for the past three years.

WATCH: Camilla Franks’ heartbreak over having her ovaries removed

In January 2018, Camilla was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer just months after welcoming daughter Luna Gypsy Jones, with her musician partner JP Jones.

“The afternoon that the doctors called me in to discuss the test results, I knew something was wrong. My heart was pounding out of my chest. When I heard the words, ‘You’ve got stage three breast cancer’, my whole world came crashing down,” she told You Magazine in 2020.

“I felt a terror to my core; to my bones. I was helpless. So powerless and scared. All I could think of was Luna. She was three months old and I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. I realised how much I wanted, needed, to live. It frightened me that it might not be an option.”

Camilla Franks
Camilla Franks was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018. (Credit: Getty)

It’s a sentiment she echoed in a candid interview with WHO the same year where Camilla spoke openly about what it was like to receive her diagnosis.

“When your mortality is questioned, it’s very confronting, shocking and sad all rolled into one. Hearing, ‘You’ve got stage 3 breast cancer’ – my whole world came crashing down,”  she explained.

“The sheer terror and the fear were things I’d never experienced before. Helpless, powerless, sick to the core, consumed with total fear I’ve never felt in my lifetime. It was a ride that I never bought a ticket for and just wanted to get off.”

Camilla Franks
“When your mortality is questioned, it’s very confronting, shocking and sad all rolled into one,” she told WHO last year. (Credit: Getty)

Camilla had two weeks to decide what course of action to take, ultimately undergoing six months of “hardcore” chemotherapy, a preventative double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.

At the hardest points of her health battle, Camilla said she tried to practise gratitude for things in life she previously paid little attention to.

“I began to focus on love and being grateful for the simple things in life that we are usually too busy to notice – the wind on my skin, the scent of the ocean, the sound of my baby’s breath,” she told WHO.

“I’ve had a collective of warrior women and men who stood by my side and helped me navigate these unchartered waters.”

Camilla Franks
“I think if cancer taught me anything, it’s about really surrendering and letting go to the craziness – and that’s when the battlefield feels a bit more peaceful and easier,” she previously said. (Credit: Getty)

In an interview on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show last year, she opened up more about the lessons she was forced to learn.

“I think if cancer taught me anything, it’s about really surrendering and letting go to the craziness – and that’s when the battlefield feels a bit more peaceful and easier,” Camilla said.

“As human beings, we are quite resilient and we learn how to adapt. I don’t think we realise what our limits until we are forced to explore them, and exploring them we are right now.”

Camilla Franks JP Jones
Camilla with her partner JP Jones. (Credit: Getty)

Camilla was dealt another cruel blow when she learnt she would need to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries.

“I still haven’t finished my treatment, I’ve still got to have the ovaries out and I’m not happy about that and it makes me sad,” the designer revealed on Studio 10.

“I resent cancer in some regards for stealing the opportunity to have another child and I didn’t realise how much I wanted another one until I was told I probably can’t have another one.”

However, she added: “But I also realise how bloody blessed I am to have one.”

In May 2021, Camilla took to Instagram to share a photo of herself clinging to her daughter Luna’s teddy bear as she recovered from the surgery in a hospital bed.

“I’m clinging to it like a life raft, breathing in her smell, feeling her presence and warmth. Its little furry body is soaked with a torrent of tears that I can’t seem to stop,” she penned in the caption.

“I lie here with a broken heart as I recover from surgery to finally remove my ovaries. The grief and pain is excruciating. I feel as if my chest is going to burst as I mourn the loss of children I can no longer bear.”

Camilla Franks
“I lie here with a broken heart as I recover from surgery to finally remove my ovaries” (Credit: Instagram)

In the candid post, the fashion designer revealed the full heartbreaking reality of her experience.

“The gut-wrenching fear, sickness and debilitating rounds of immediate treatment are one thing, but it goes on,” she continued.

“I have a harmful BRCA2 gene variant and with that diagnosis came a horrible reality. That not only did I have to fight the breast cancer I had, I also had to prevent the future cancers I was so much more likely to get – more breast cancer, ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and others.”

She added: “I had to fight to save my life. A life which is so much more precious now that I have a little girl who loves and needs me.”

Our thoughts are with Camilla as she continues her brave battle against the disease.

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