SARAH Harding and I are the exact same age, and would have been in the same school year.
I'm sure, like most 39 year-olds, school seems like yesterday; we all still feel 16. We all remember the horror of double Maths of a Tuesday morning.Sarah Harding revealed she was battling cancer last yearCredit: Getty Images
Which is why Sarah's story is both so powerful, and so heartbreaking.
Thirty-nine is no age at all.
Sarah and I grew-up on the celebrity circuit together - her, glamorous, laughing, beautiful, on the red carpet, me, moth-eaten and exhausted, the other side of it.
She was so welcoming to everyone: star, fan and journalist alike.The Sun's Clemmie Moodie pictured with Girls AloudCredit: Clemmie Moodie
She happily played up to her moniker 'Hardcore Harding'. Yet she is - I'm loathe to say 'was' because where there's life, there's hope - so, so much more than a party girl.
I distinctly remember, despite the 37 pints of champagne, a late-night chat with her at a hotel bar in central London, after an awards ceremony.
I was asking her the secrets of her flawless complexion. She humoured me, and we chatted in depth about lasers and facials. (I'm sure she's had better party chats).
So when she describes in her brilliant, raw, book the awful realisation that the drugs designed to save or prolong her life will also, ultimately, erode her much-photographed beauty, the pain is almost visceral.Sarah's story has reminded women under 40 to get checkedCredit: Getty Images - Getty
What woman doesn't relate to the sadness at losing one's looks? Pleading with a nurse to cover the bedroom mirror, sparing the indignity of hourly reminders of her inward, and outward, pain.
She says she longs for one more big night out - "the other Sarah Harding is still in there somewhere too. Given half a chance I know she'd be back with a vengeance, dancing on tables". I hope to God she gets that chance.
Sarah's words - no doubt written during moments of excruciating agony, mentally and physically - will save lives.
She said she wanted to remind people of the real her, the one beyond "the nightclubs, the frocks, the big chart hits, and the glamour of being a popstar".
Sarah, if you're reading this, you've done it - a thousand times over.
For every young life you've saved, for every woman under 40 you've given the courage to get checked, thank you.
Sarah Harding laughs and smiles in first social media post since revealing cancer diagnosis
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