The cancer survivor dragging up to help others living with the disease

Alan Bugg’s charity Cancer Is A Drag financially supports those living with cancer.


Words Markus Bidaux

“I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2010; it was non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a blood cancer,” Alan Bugg tells Attitude October issue, out now to download and to order globally.

“It was heartbreaking news; I was there with my partner, now of 21 years, and we both cried our eyes out. But that’s how it is.

“As a gay man, I did wonder whether or not the cancer was caused by my lifestyle; all of the clubbing and partying and fun that I had, not looking after myself properly.


Alan Bugg in hospital during stem cell transplant treatment

“But I was assured by the doctors all the time that it was not because of who I am; this is just something that I have got.”

During his battle cancer, Alan decided he should support Macmillan Cancer Support who helped him through his mental health and financial issues.

Utilising his network of drag queen friends, he started Cancer is a Drag as fundraising organisation in 2012, but by 2015 it became a fully-fledged charity by the Charity Commission.

Alan Bugg marching with Cancer Is A Drag for London Pride in 2015

The charity has over 20 drag ambassadors including Drag Race UK’s Baga Chipz.

And now after taking Michael Twaits’ The Art of Drag course, Alan is joining in the fun as Avaline A’Love, his drag persona named in honoured of Ava, a little girl who was the first person Cancer is a Drag financially supported, so her and her family could go to Disneyland.

Alan Bugg as Avaline A'Love

In his first performance as Avaline A'Love, he came on stage in a hospital gown and slippers and proceeded to lip-sync and chat to the audience about his cancer journey.

Alan will never forget the support he received from Macmillan. Every September people host Coffee Mornings to raise funds for Macmillan.

Alan being something of a maverick will instead be hosting a Coffee Cocktail Evening in aid of Macmillan on 6 October in The Two Brewers Backroom Show Bar with special guests Danny Beard and Son of a Tutu.

Alan Bugg

“And I’ll be coming out as Avaline A’Love too, to tell the tale of my drag journey,” Alan tells us.

“If you or anyone you know is going through cancer then you should reach out to Macmillan Cancer Support, reach out to Cancer is a Drag, reach out to your friends and family because you don’t have to do this alone and to do this alone is impossible.”

You can read Alan's full story in the Attitude October issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Help Macmillan Cancer Support continue to do whatever it takes for people like Alan by hosting a Coffee Morning this September. Click here to sign up now.