Norwich mum’s cancer battle fight back
A Norwich mum-of-two has spoken of how her battle against cancer has given her a new lease of life and helped kick-start her new business.
Sue Leach was just 32 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She had given birth to her second daughter nine months beforehand and was about to go back to work as a midwife.
There had been no family history of breast cancer and the news came as a complete shock to her and her young family.
Mrs Leach, from Taverham, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The treatment was successful and she was eager to get her life back on track. Returning to normality, however, proved harder than Mrs Leach expected and she struggled to settle back into work.
It was at that point she decided to become self-employed. Mrs Leach had already been experimenting with dairy-free baking, aimed at her eldest daughter Evie, four, who has a dairy allergy, and realised there was a market out there for dairy-free and gluten-free cakes and treats.
Now, two years on from her initial diagnosis, Mrs Leach, who lives in Isbets Dale, off Kingswood Avenue, has set up her own business, called Moove Over Dairy, and has secured a number of contracts in and around Norwich.
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'When you're first told you've got cancer, you think the world is ending, you think 'that's it',' said Mrs Leach, who is married to accountant Simon, 33, and has daughters Evie and Gracie, two.
'But the world doesn't end, it tends to change.
You change direction a bit – you don't feel the same, you feel different, you act differently. I've always wanted to have my own business and now this is quite positive and hopeful for me. I can stay at home with my children and I've got a business which is starting to tick over.'
Mrs Leach has been a qualified midwife for five years and was diagnosed with breast cancer two months before she had been due to return to work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
She spent four months back at work before she decided to set up her own business.
'I returned back to work but it was too much. It was quite intense and you do anti-social hours.
'It's an emotional job and you have to give a lot. The shifts killed me. You're much more tired after you've had cancer and I missed my kids and I missed my husband,' said Mrs Leach, now 34.
She had grown tired of trying to find dairy-free treats for Evie and would experiment with her own recipes until she found the perfect combination of ingredients.
Once she perfected her recipes, she took samples to shops and caf�s in and around Norwich and asked for feedback.
Mrs Leach has now secured deals with online sellers Holosfoods and Welovelocalfood and her products can be found in Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard, Norwich, Hoveton Hall Gardens and Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham.
Her dairy-free fudge was also recently shortlisted for a Free From Food award. Mrs Leach, who said she will potentially return to midwifery once her daughters are older, said: 'The business is beneficial to my daughter and to other people with gluten and dairy intolerances and there's a market for it. I'm at home doing something I enjoy, it's my business, there's no shift work, no night work and I'm providing a bit of a service for people who have these allergies and intolerances and can't normally eat tasty things.
'Being able to make money out of it is just a huge bonus.'
Have you got an inspiring story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org