Breast cancer survivor beats over 50 candidates to win Northampton's Inspirational Woman gong

Leonie Heard
Leonie Heard

A breast cancer charity founder, who was shortlisted out of 57 amazing candidates, has been crowned Northampton’s Inspirational Woman for 2018.

Leonie Heard received the Inspirational Woman Award from BBC Radio Northampton presenter Annabel Amos, at the International Women’s Day event in the Guildhall earlier this month.

Judges said Leonie stood out from the 57 women who had been nominated this year for her support to women diagnosed with cancer through her charity, Breast Friends Northampton.

Leonie said she was humbled by her recognition: "I feel truly honoured to have been nominated and be asked share a stage with such inspirational women with so many positive contributions to our community.

"I feel although the award was given to me, it represents the hard work, commitment and support that our members offer and share that makes it so special.

"This award, for me, is recognition from our wider community that we are doing the right thing and spurs me to commit to ensuring we continue to support people affected by breast cancer in Northampton."

Leonie set up the charity last year after being diagnosed with cancer herself and finding that there was a need for a local support group.

Supported by other breast cancer survivors, she organises regular group meetings and health and social events that help to promote people's wellbeing as well as providing information and opportunities for relevant support.

In addition, Leonie has developed a chemotherapy bag, to provide people going through the treatment, with everything they might need during that time.

The chemotherapy bag seeks to aid or alleviate eight of the most common side effects of breast cancer and offers items, including; aromatherapy, hydration bottle, scalp shampoo and nail health.

Leonie’s most recent project sees her going out into the community to offer breast cancer awareness and communicate the importance of self-checking and early diagnosis to local businesses and organisations.

Councillor Anna King picked the winner from 57 nominations received this year.

“Everyone nominated deserves appreciation for their hard work and the commitment that they show in their community, especially the five award finalists.

“Leonie’s partnership work and community support, however, really stood out and we felt her achievements needed to be recognised publically. Presenting Leonie with the award in front of so many people at the International Women’s Day event, provided the perfect opportunity to do this and thank her for everything she has done in such a short time.”