Entrepreneur, Speaker, Cancer Survivor & Occasional Model
THIS IS MY STORY
Leanne Pero is a multi- award- winning entrepreneur, speaker, author, model and breast cancer survivor.
After moving out of her family home at the aged of 13 and going through sexual abuse, she founded her love of dance and started inspiring young people to make a difference at the age of 15, when she launched her community-focused dance company The Movement Factory. Since then, she has successfully fundraised over £250,000 to run community dance programs all over the country, reaching over 500,000 young people in her lifespan.
In 2014, Leanne became the first Community Ambassador for Pineapple Studios. Three years later, in 2017 she became CEO of Pineapple’s first Charity – Pineapple Community.
Her dance work includes work for Nike, London Youth, The Rio Ferdinand foundation and Kelly Holmes education to name a few. She has also performed at the houses of parliament and Buckingham palace.
Leanne is also a self-published author. Her first book, ‘Take Control’, released in 2016, is a self-help book, aimed at 18–30-year-olds. In the book she details her personal struggles as a victim of sexual abuse and as a young businesswoman, dealing with depression. Her most recent title ‘The Positive Day Planner’, another self-help book, sold out within the first week!
Towards the end of 2016, just 6 months after nursing her mother through her second breast cancer diagnosis, Leanne was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She bravely underwent a bilateral mastectomy with an immediate reconstruction, as well as 8 grueling rounds of chemotherapy.
Using her platform, Leanne shared her story to raise cancer awareness amongst young people and the BAME community. During this time, she found comfort and healing in talking to other female cancer patients, whom she met on the hospital wards. What stood out to her was the lack of physical and emotional support being provided by the NHS, for black cancer patients.
Leanne knew something had to change. Being the philanthropist that she is, in 2017, she began arranging informal peer support groups for BAME female cancer patients and survivors: Black Women Rising was born. Highlights include finding the world’s first all-black female cancer scars exhibition Black Women Rising ‘The Untold Cancer Stories’ which had its first exhibition at The OXO Tower London.
In 2020, despite going through the toughest year where she questioned whether the charity would survive, Leanne launched a successful podcast series Black Women Rising ‘Untold Cancer Stories’ as well as the Black Women Rising Magazine. The first publication of its kind, the magazine is aimed at empowering women of colour through their cancer journeys.
Through her work, Leanne has teamed up with a number of brands on cancer awareness campaigns, such as;
Stella McCartney, Pretty Little Thing, Estee Lauder, GHD, Zalando, Palmers, Loungewear and Boots.
She has also personally modeled for brands such as Pretty Little Thing, Pineapple, Primark and Next.
She has also been featured in and on many media outlets such as The Telegraph, Marie Claire, The Voice, South London Press, The Express, The Sun, Metro and Guardian newspapers, Sky News, Channel 4 News, BBC News and is annually featured on The Lorraine Show.
In 2019 Leanne was a finalist for ITV’s Lorraine women of the year award. 2021 Leanne won The National Lottery award for health and so far this year she has won the Pour Moi Award for outstanding achiever. Leanne is a finalist in the Just Giving Awards 2022 which she finds out the outcome in October.
In July 2022 Leanne teamed up with Novartis the pharmaceutical company to film and release her first ever documentary- The C Word where she talks about her life before cancer and the impact the diagnosis has had on her life since.
Leanne was made an MBE in the king’s birthday honours list June 2023.