Jade Goody burst on to our screens via Big Brother 2002 here in the UK. She wasn't the most likeable of women (in my opinion), is from the hard-ass Bermondsey area of South (or Saaaaaaaaarf) London, is the daughter of a convicted criminal and one-armed lesbian mother. Please note, i'm trying to set the scene and i'm definitely not being judgemental.
She didn't win Big Brother, but due to her inate ability to entertain (although admitedly, most viewers were laughing at her, rather than with her) she went on to become one of the most well known and sought after reality tv stars in Britain. She also made a fortune worth millions via book and perfume deals, subsequent reality shows, fitness dvds, and other merchandising opportunities.
I am glad to say that i have never watched an episode of any show she has been on because in my opinion they all employed the lowest common denominator, neither did i find her interesting. I did however, watch the version of Celebrity Big Brother she appeared on a couple of years ago, because i am a Big Brother addict. And like a lot of others i was astounded at her (and her cronies) bullying and abuse of Indian actress, Shilpa Shetty.
She was booted out of the house into a storm of public outcry and hatred, which lasted all of one month, or so. She subsequently announced her plans to go on to the Indian version of Big Brother to make amends for her treatment of Shilpa Shetty.
It was in the Indian Big Brother house that she learnt that she had cervical cancer. The cancer turned out to be terminal and now Jade has apparently been given just weeks to live. Following her return from India, her reality show continued, so did the magazine spreads and without giving it much thought, I continued to switch over. Then the coverage intensified and it began to be minor nuisance and i remember commenting on how tacky it was that she was still trying to cash in despite being ill.
That was, however, until i learnt that her motive was to make as much money as possible for her two sons before she passed away. My opinion shifted immediately. I mean, how can you argue with that? How can you argue with a young mother who knows she's dying, wanting to leave her sons behind with a secure financial future? I must add that many have. Actually, public opinion is divided. To the nay sayers, all i say is 'switch over'. I mean, i no longer condemn her choices, but still have never tuned in to see the show, neither have i seen a single picture of her wedding in OK! Magazine.
My heart goes out to her. No one should have to go through the trauma and pain that she is currently going through. On the up side, there has apparently been a 20% rise in the number of young women undergoing smear tests to detect cervical cancer.
See below for a link to an article that provides a comprehensive background to the story.