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Black Women Rising- The Untold Cancer Stories (Exhibition and Live Panel Ta...

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Copeland Gallery

Copeland Park

London

SE15 3SN

United Kingdom

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Black Women Rising- The Untold Cancer Stories, is the UK’s first all-black female cancer portrait exhibition, aimed at getting more black female cancer patients connecting and talking about their cancer experiences- to aid their recovery process, spread some much-needed cancer awareness amongst their communities and educate some of the UKs leading cancer care organisations about their needs. A recent NHS publication* suggests cultural stigmas/ taboos and general myths about cancer amongst the various black communities stops individuals from talking about their experiences- often completing their treatment without giving the vital feedback the NHS so desperately need in order to successfully cater for the needs of these individuals mentally and physically.

"BME patients are less likely to give feedback about treatment, making it difficult for the NHS to identify areas where care can be improved"

Simon Stevens- NHS England- Chief Executive

"The NHS needs to know more about the experience of black and minority ethnic people who have cancer treatment in order to ensure services understand their needs”

Lord Victor Adebowale, NHS England- board member

The project itself will consist of photographic exhibition of 14 phenomenally brave Black Female Cancer Patients/survivors and their bodily scars left after the disease. There will also be a live panel talk with the ladies exhibited, addressing their individual experiences, fears and hopes for the future.

The Black Women Rising cancer project is the brain child of awarding winning community entrepreneur, Blogger and Breast Cancer survivor Leanne Pero, who at 30 years old was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, 6 months after her mother was diagnosed with it for the 2ndtime.

Whilst undertaking round after round of gruelling chemotherapy and back to back operations (including a double mastectomy) Leanne’s mental health took a huge battering and she soon realised the emotional support she was promised at the start of her treatment- although very much needed, was practically non-existent- so she began blogging about her cancer experiences online in order to reach and connect with other members of the cancer community, Leanne was left overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of admiration from fellow BME female cancer patients like herself echoing her experiences with the inadequate emotional support and referral services offered by the hospitals they were being treated at.

Traumatised by their ordeals, most women Leanne spoke to were seriously suffering- not just during treatment but many months, even years after. Leanne soon became an ear for many of these women, and was presented with stories from women who had been banished from their families and communities because of their cancer diagnosis, those who were told cancer wasn’t a black disease, women who had family members disappear from their lives because they were too scared that they may catch it, women who had been told their cancer was a curse/ karma for bad things they had done in the past, many women who had lost their hair through treatment and didn’t receive their free wig they were entitled to because their hospital had run out of the wigs in the “Ethnic Section” and more shockingly women who were advised against vital lifesaving cancer drugs because they were ungodly. The judgement and stress put on these women had led to severe depression, permanent hair loss and even suicidal thoughts to name a few.

In March 2018 Leanne set up The Leanne Pero Foundation to house her cancer initiatives and her first project- Black Women Rising was launched, a FREE, safe, friendly meet up group for BME women her first group was oversubscribed and the mission was clear – cancer needed to become part of the wider conversations within the BME community.

The Exhibition idea was born from this mission and was inspired by the women who attended Leanne’s group and will consist of 14 portraits of phenomenally brave Black Female Cancer Patients/survivors and their bodily scars they have inherited from their disease. There will also be a live panel talk with the ladies exhibited, addressing their individual experiences, fears and hopes for the future.

The first exhibitions will take place on the 27th and 28th March 2019 at the Award-winning Copeland Gallery in Peckham.

The portraits have been shot by world renowned photographer Noam Friedman, of The Brightrooms Photography Studio in Peckham.

As well as Leanne, some of the inspirational cancer warriors who will be featured in the exhibition include;

Local restaurateur Saima Thompson, who at 30 years old has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and aids her journey by blogging about her experience on her website curry and cancer.

We also have 41-year-old Southampton based dancer and exercise instructor Helena Boyce, who had breast cancer twice in two years and had to undergo two lots of chemotherapy.

Charlotte Crowl, 28 who has been in remission for 9 years and was a teenage Lymphoma cancer patient. She had a rare side effect to her chemotherapy drugs that almost killed her and has left her with a permanent speech impairment and disabled.

Then there is Leanne’s mum Amanda, 58 who had had Breast Cancer twice and now has no breasts. Amanda first had Breast Cancer 21 years ago.

The project has been fully funded by The Leanne Pero Foundation and Brightrooms dark room and studio in Peckham and has relied on the good will of various creatives and collaborators to come together. Leanne and her team are hoping to use the preview shows as a way to attract vital project sponsors so she can take the exhibition on tour around the various BME communities in London and the hopefully UK wide.

Breast Cancer Care, the only specialist UK-wide charity providing support to people with breast cancer, will have a clinical information stall at the exhibition which is n April 2019, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now are uniting to create one charity for everyone affected by breast cancer


For more infomation or a press pass please contact us: foundation@leannepero.com

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Copeland Gallery

Copeland Park

London

SE15 3SN

United Kingdom

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