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Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis reveals first National Lottery Award 2020 winner!

8th October 2020

Olympic gold medallist and sports presenter Denise Lewis has honoured an inspirational cancer survivor whose amazing work providing support for black women suffering from the disease has been recognised with a National Lottery Award.

Award winner Leanne Pero and Olympic athlete Denise Lewis

Leanne Pero set up the charity The Leanne Pero Foundation last year, to address the lack of education about cancer amongst the black community and to provide specialist support and services for black cancer patients.

In 2016, Leanne was just 30 when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy as well as a bilateral mastectomy.

During treatment, Leanne organised a series of informal coffee mornings to support other BAME women with cancer. These evolved into the Black Women Rising Cancer Support Group to help women cope with a diagnosis and raise awareness of the disease among a demographic disproportionately affected by cancer.

After being given the all clear in summer of 2017, she created Black Women Rising – The Untold Cancer stories, the UK’s first all-black female cancer portrait exhibition. It featured portraits of 14 black women diagnosed with breast cancer bearing their treatment scars and is due to exhibit at the Tate Gallery in London in 2021.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she has been named winner of the health category in the 2020 National Lottery Awards and she received her trophy today from Denise, who won a gold medal in the heptathlon at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

I am absolutely delighted to have won the Health category in the 2020 National Lottery Awards. It is incredibly important to me that other black women are given the opportunity to share their cancer experiences and feel supported by a community of individuals in the same terrifying situation. Thanks to National Lottery players, I’ve been able to see my visions come to life in wonderful ways.”

Leanne Pero

Leanne Pero and Denise Lewis

“It was an absolute delight to meet Leanne and present her with a National Lottery Award for the incredible support she has provided to so many black cancer patients. She is an inspiration to us all!”

Denise Lewis, who lost her grandmother to cancer in 2005

Almost 5,000 extraordinary individuals were nominated for a 2020 National Lottery Award – the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded people and projects.

They celebrate the inspirational individuals who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

In August 2019, The Leanne Pero Foundation received £1,000 of National Lottery funding and Leanne’s Black Women Rising exhibition was awarded a £7,042 grant. Her project will now receive a £3,000 cash prize in recognition of her work.

National Lottery players raise around £30 million to good causes every week. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The National Lottery has distributed support packages of up to £600 million across arts, sports, heritage, education and the environment.