Leanne Pero, 33-year-old award winning entrepreneur, author, mentor and breast cancer survivor.
“I was adamant, and I said yes … this is what I want to do. I don’t have the same feeling or connection in that way with my breasts anymore. From when you’re told you’re going to have a 60-70% percent chance of that cancer coming back… for me, that when I removed any sort of feeling in that way toward my breasts.”
After forming my dance company, The Movement Factory aged just 15 I have gone on to raise over £250,000 in funding for my community-focused dance and performing arts projects across London and engage with over 500,000 young people.
In 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer, just days after my 31st birthday, and underwent 8 gruelling rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy. Now, i use my platform to raise awareness for cancer through blogging and detailing my journey and the challenges I have faced as a woman of colour, when accessing cancer support services.
Feeling excluded and unrepresented in mainstream cancer support groups, I began to interact with many women who, like me, were struggling with depression, trauma and isolation. Overwhelmed with the many stories many of which echoed my own experience, I created the Black Woman Rising support group to provide a free, safe space for women of colour to come together and talk openly and frankly about their cancer battles.
I have gone on to set up my own cancer charity, ‘The Leanne Pero Foundation’, subsequently creating the UK’s first ever all Black female cancer exhibition ‘Black Women Rising – The Untold Cancer Stories’, aimed at spreading some much-needed awareness amongst the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community.
I feel honoured to be part of this Lounge campaign! I am a huge believer in demonstrating to the world that cancer doesn’t exclude anyone- via race/ colour/ age/ lifestyle.
“Those horrific moments that i went through waiting to be diagnosed and after… I would never want any young woman to go through that again, so everything I do now is to make sure that any other young woman that is ever diagnosed with what i was diagnosed with, has help, and has places they can go for inspiration of how to overcome what they’re going through!”