'I almost lost my mum, now Mother's Day is a gift I don't take it for ...

2 days ago
After almost losing his mum twice, Nick Collier, aka Ella Vaday, has spoken about how much he treasures every moment with his mum - and the charity trek ...

After almost losing his mum twice, Nick Collier, aka Ella Vaday, has spoken about how much he treasures every moment with his mum - and the charity trek he's taking on

Nick and Donna Collier

Nick and Donna treasure every moment they spend together (

Image: Supplied)

Nick Collier, perhaps better known by their drag persona Ella Vaday, knows all too well what it's like for their mum to deal with a devastating diagnosis - they've been through it twice now.

Donna Collier had to go through a scary diagnosis ten years ago, and another in late 2021 - but she's full of admiration for Nick as he prepares to take on a huge challenge to help a charity close to their hearts.

The pair of them say that they'll never take a Mother's Day for granted ever again as it's "so much more meaningful and is something to treasure."

Nick (pictured here as Ella Vaday) and his mum have always been close... (


...and they treasure every moment they spend together (



After being diagnosed with breast cancer whilst Nick was on Drag Race, you can see the relief on their faces that 59-year-old Donna is almost at the other side. She candidly discussesher diagnosis, and why she initially hid it from her kids:

"This year, I want to spend this year building up all the stamina, so I can get physically stronger. It's been a nightmare at times, but I'm getting there and I continue to get stronger.

"I was a little bit flippant about my diagnosis - it started with something called Paget's disease of the nipple, and I didn't know anything about it. And me being a nurse just thought 'oh, I've got a little bit of eczema' because that's literally how it presents. It was the summer months so I put two and two together and got five.

"So I sat on this diagnosis for a while because Nick was doing Drag Race, and the other kids are just really busy, and I needed to know facts before I started spilling the beans.

"I thought this is the second time I've faced cancer as well so I thought 'oh Jesus not again', but I've always taken a very positive outlook with it, you just have to go with the flow and hope the outcome is going to be okay.

"I had stage two, which isn't okay, but it's not stage four. The tumour was small but I had to have the nodes removed before I had a mastectomy.

"Last year was a complete and utter blur, and I was absolutely terrified, but I didn't want to portray that to the kids - I never do."

Nick spoke of his frustrations though, explaining that it was "difficult" for him not to be able to be there for his mum in person.

He said: "It was really frustrating for me because the last time my mum had cancer I was in my final year of college in 2008 so it was a really intense time for me then, and I told her off when she told us because I was frustrated with her for keeping it to herself.

"But I'm the same, I didn't tell her I had Drag Race until she was worried about me not talking to her, so I know how it feels.

"It was difficult for me to not be able to be there as much as I wanted to be. Around Drag Race everything was getting intense, busy, and stressful.

"I couldn't find the time, I couldn't go to Norwich, and when you're the eldest kid and your mum's got cancer again, and again you can't be there, you feel like you're letting your mum down, and your family. It was stressful to not be able to be there."

But the pair have always been close - they spoke about how similar they both are, and how much the pair laugh when they're together.

"Me and my mum have always been super close - I'm like my mum's mini-me really," said Nick.

"A lot of the ways I act as an adult are exactly like my mum, and I've only come to realise that as an adult.

"I left home at 16 to go and train in London so I left home quite early, but we've always stayed in touch and we've always chatted pretty much every day or every other day, so we're super close."

And on Mother's Day, their relationship feels even more cherished than ever, with the pair detailing how much it means to them to be able to celebrate.

Nick said: "You do take mother's day for granted, but when your mum's been through something as intense as getting chemo and radiotherapy, and losing her hair - it completely destroyed my mum's life for a section of time- it just makes you appreciate every single moment you've got together.

"Mother's Day now is so much more meaningful and is something to treasure. Another year together, and my mum's back to being healthy again so it's an amazing feeling. I'm so thankful she's beaten cancer for a second time."

Last Mother's Day, Donna was just starting chemo and Nick was on the 'Pick'N'Mix' tour with his drag pals Vanity Milan, River Medway, and Choriza May. When they were in Norwich, Donna was meant to go but she was too poorly, so they're making the most of every moment moving forward.

Donna mentioned her 90-year-old mum too, who has Alzheimer's, and how important it is for her to still spend time with her mum.

And Nick, who "doesn't really walk" will be walking 100km across Hadrian's Wall Country to raise money for CoppaFeel, which helps young people get diagnosed early with breast cancer.

From delivering nearly 400 school talks to sending over one million free text reminders every year, the charity aims to educate, encourage and empower young people to get to know their bodies and check regularly.

"We've got to camp and I've never camped before - I've only been glamping. Lots of things are going to happen for the first time on this trip. I'm more terrified of camping than walking 100km", Nick admits, whilst Donna says she is "super proud" of him for the challenge he's taking on, hinting she wanted to be at the finish line to congratulate him when he's completed the trek.

To find out more about CoppaFeel and to donate to support Nick's trek, click here.

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