Wednesday 17th June at 7.30pm 
Lifting the Lid on Cancer in the BAMER Community


Hosted by Leanne Pero (founder of Black Women Rising), we want to talk about the specific challenges and experiences of cancer patients in the BAME communities. Why is it that black women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer than white women? And why are cancer patients from BAME backgrounds less likely to receive follow up screenings? We’ve invited our Young Adult Ambassadors Saima Thompson (founder of the BAME Cancer Support Group) and Angel Shepherd to join Mary Oladele (founder of Cancer Education, a charity that raises awareness about cancer in the BAME communities) to cover topics such as why BAME cancer patients are less likely to access support, specific issues within different communities such as taboos around being open with a cancer diagnosis, and what people can do to raise awareness and representation of cancer within BAME communities. 

Book Tickets


Learn more about our amazing line up
Leanne Pero

Leanne Pero is a 33-year-old award winning entrepreneur, author, mentor and breast cancer survivor.

After forming her dance company, The Movement Factory aged just 15 she has gone on to raise over £250,000 in funding for her community focused dance and performing arts projects across London and engage with over 500,000 young people.

Several career highlights include: being chosen to carry the torch for the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the first Community Ambassador for the iconic dance Studio Pineapple in 2014 and CEO for their charity Pineapple Community. Winning serval awards along the way, including the GLE’s ‘Rising Star of the Year’ Award in 2009, Leanne has featured in Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35, earned a nod at the Women of the Future Awards in 2012, been a finalist in the National Diversity Awards and British Black business Awards and published her own part autobiographical - part self-help book Take Control.

In 2016 Leanne was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer, just days after her 31st birthday, and underwent 8 gruelling rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy. Using her platform to raise awareness for cancer she began blogging, detailing her journey and the challenges she faced as a woman of colour, when accessing cancer support services. Feeling excluded and unrepresented in mainstream cancer support groups, she began to interact with many women who, like her, were struggling with depression, trauma and isolation. Overwhelmed with the many stories many of which echoed her own experience, Leanne 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.

Leanne has gone on to set up her 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.

Saima Thompson
Saima Thompson runs multi award winning restaurant Masala Wala Cafe in south London, is an entrepreneur and thanks to a recent cancer diagnosis now writer and public speaker. After being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at 29 years old her life changed forever, now a cancer patient she was determined to bring her worlds of food and health together. Proving to myself and others that palliative care isn’t the end of LIVING. She suffered mentally after the news but through sheer determination she worked through life’s traumas with coping strategies and look to carry the diagnosis with her.
Her focus has been to raise awareness and connect with people from BAME backgrounds so others do not feel alone when they get the news. There is a total lack of conversation around disease, let alone cancer, this is due to cultural shame, taboo and lack of education, integration especially with elders. Because of the silence, the statistics are shocking and people are dying unnecessarily being staged late in BAME communities. 
She has written pieces for Refinery29, Huffington Post, Vice and featured in national campaigns for Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK & the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. She was named a Top 100 Change Maker by The Big Issue and Top 50 #femail by The Daily Mail for her efforts to speak out. She guest co hosted the BBC 5 podcast ‘You Me and the Big C’ speaking about the topic of culture and cancer and is currently working on a cook book & podcast.
Angel Shepherd

Bio coming soon

Mary Oladele
Mary Oladele is a Senior Therapeutic Radiographer whereby she specialises in cancer treatment using radiation. She currently run Cancer Education, a charity that focuses on raising awareness about cancer with the BAMER community, support patients from these communities and reintegrating women back into the community and workplace.