The Hartlepool business boss who was diagnosed with cancer - a week after launching a cancer service

Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID
Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID
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A business boss set up her own firm to help people with cancer - and was diagnosed with it herself a week later.

But courageous Sue Leonard, from Hartlepool, is refusing to be downbeat.

Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID

Instead, she wants to do even more to help others now that she has inside knowledge of the problems facing sufferers.

“I am sat here bald-headed,” she told the Hartlepool Mail, “but all this is doing is driving me on to look at the bigger picture for cancer patients.

“I am looking at other services and not just wig fitting.

“I want to look at services for people who lose eyebrows, lashes and nails.”

I am sat here bald-headed but all this is doing is driving me on to look at the bigger picture for cancer patients. I am looking at other services and not just wig fitting

Sue Leonard

Sue, 62, only launched Tres Chic in July to aid people who had suffered hair loss through illness, or through thinning. It’s not just for cancer sufferers either.

It is also aimed at anyone with hair loss whether they are male or female, and the wigs can also be used for glamour and beauty purposes.

The former NHS rheumatology specialist nurse wanted to provide a full consultation, matching and fitting service and her idea won support from more than 13,000 Hartlepool Mail readers on social media.

One described it as “a fantastic idea.” Another hailed it as “bang on trend for anyone who has thin or no hair to wear wigs”.

Sue Leonard (left) with her cousin Anne Scott. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue Leonard (left) with her cousin Anne Scott. Picture by FRANK REID

Mail Facebook followers called for local groups to spread the word about the service.

But fate took a cruel turn when Sue went for a routine mammogram. It showed she had breast cancer.

Within a month of starting her business, she’d had a mastectomy and had to have aggressive chemotherapy.

“How ironic,” admitted Sue who kept the business going and has now called in the help of her cousin Anne Scott to run Tres Chic for her while she recuperates.

Sue Leonard (left) with her cousin Anne Scott. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue Leonard (left) with her cousin Anne Scott. Picture by FRANK REID

Surgeons have managed to rid Sue of all the cancer and she is upbeat about the future. “I want to say, it is not the end, it is the beginning.

“To be given this news when you have complete control of your health, it is a complete blow.

“But when you put your life in perspective, a lot of people survive. I am getting through each day at the moment.”

Sue added: “I have been struggling but I am positive about it all. It is the business that has kept me going. I have so many hopes for it.”

Within a week of launching her business at the Hartlepool Enterprise Centre, in Brougham Terrace, she had to put it on hold while she underwent treatment.

But now Sue has called in help from Anne who lives in Jersey.

Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue Leonard. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue admitted: “It is a big sacrifice for her and she is doing this to help me out, and help me get through this treatment.”

Hartlepool-born Anne is back home after 37 years away, working as a nurse in Jersey.

She said: “Sue is amazing. Sue told me she had set up the business and then, blow me, a week later, she gave me this news.

“I had planned to come back to Hartlepool next year when I was thinking about retiring but then I thought ‘what am I waiting for. My family are all here and this is the perfect opportunity for me.”