Custom Search 1

The UK’s first all-female BME cancer exhibit to launch

SURVIVOR: Leanne Pero

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.

The exhibit aims to aid their recovery process, spread some much-needed cancer awareness amongst their communities and educate some of the UK’s leading cancer care organisations about their needs.

The project itself will consist of photographic exhibition of 14 phenomenally brave black female cancer patients/survivors showcasing their scars left after the disease, photographed by world-renowned photographer Noam Friedman.


The Black Women Rising cancer project is the brainchild 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 2nd time.

Whilst undertaking round after round of gruelling chemotherapy and back to back operations (including a double mastectomy) Pero’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.

She began blogging about her cancer experiences online in order to reach and connect with other members of the cancer community and was left overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of support 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 treated at.

Traumatised by their ordeals, most women Pero spoke to were seriously suffering- not just during treatment but many months, even years after.

She 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.

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, Pero 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.

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

Speaking to The Voice Pero said: "I’m absolutely delighted to be able to create a platform for these wonderfully brave and courageous cancer warriors to share their stories and join me in spreading some much-needed cancer awareness amongst our BME communities.

“When I was going through my own cancer treatment I was actually shocked at the lack of services tailored and catered for BME patients- even things such as getting a decent wig to match our hair types seemed impossible for services to get right.

“We have had enough of our needs and voices going unheard, we have had enough of cultural taboos and myths stopping us from speaking out about our experiences and traumas within our communities.

"This exhibition is the start of some much-needed conversation with EVERYONE- cancer care services, the media and most importantly our communities. It’s a time to excitedly change the narrative of cancer amongst the BME community."

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments