01/22/2014 12:48 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Plus-Size Canadian Model Elly Mayday Is Fighting Cancer And Posing For Lingerie Ads (PHOTOS)


When we think of lingerie models, are minds inevitably turn to Victoria's Secret catwalk stunners like Adriana Lima and Selita Ebanks.

What we don't think of? Cancer.

But a Vancouver-bred woman is hoping to change our minds about the real meaning of beauty.

25-year-old plus-size model Elly Mayday was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer just as she was being signed by modelling agencies in 2013.

As she prepares to undergo hot chemotherapy treatment and more surgery this week to remove one of the last tumours, the Canadian remains upbeat about her future and her modelling career.

Rather than stay at home and feel sorry for herself, the young woman has been modelling for Forever Yours Lingerie, a retailer in Langley, B.C.

Showing off her surgery scars and bald head in the sports bra campaign, the gorgeous model looks sexy and confident in the colourful swimwear.

“It was kind of a point of realization, either, ‘Do I stop now, or do I keep on going and be the person that I was raised to be and the person that I know I am?’” Elly told CTV.

And fans of the model are rooting for her too on her official Facebook page.

“The reaction has been amazing," said Sonya Perkins, the owner of Forever Yours Lingerie. "People love it. People really want to see real people."

For Elly, the most important message that she wants to get across is that beauty isn't just about thin girls with big breasts.

"It's important to show what real women look like underneath their clothes, she told ABC News. "Most people have some issue they are dealing with."

Brave words from a strong woman.

From her Instagram page:

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