Laura Ashurst is a three time survivor of breast cancer. She lives in Stokesley in North Yorkshire with her husband Paul and their two children.  Originally diagnosed aged 34, when her daughter was 3 years old and her son was 6 months old, she has lived with the disease for over 19 years; the last thirteen of those with secondary breast cancer.

Laura trained as a beauty therapist when she left school, much to the dismay of some of her teachers who made it very clear that they felt she was throwing her life away especially when she had gained her Ordinary/Additional maths ‘O’ level at school! She is a firm believer in following your dreams and that with hard work, success in your chosen career path will, in its various forms, always be your reward.

After leaving college she worked as a beauty therapist in a local hotel where she quickly developed a large clientele due to her ability to give a ‘blooming good’ facial and her knack at finding knots in muscles that people didn’t know they had. She decided that her true vocation lay in teaching and following a stint as a sales representative for a major beauty therapy equipment manufacturer she went on to gain her Certificate in Education (FE). After working as a Visiting Lecturer at the college where she originally trained, she went on to gain a full time teaching post at Hartlepool College of Further Education with a remit to write and develop an HND in Beauty Therapy (she was determined to prove to her teachers from school that her academic ability within the world of beauty therapy had not been wasted!).

Over a number of years, Laura progressed to a Senior Lecturer within the Department of  Health and Care at the college and she also gained a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the renowned Shirley Price School of Aromatherapy. She co-wrote the first Foundation Degree in Complementary Therapy (Aromatherapy) in the North East for the University of Teesside and is a firm advocate of the use of essential oils for therapeutic wellbeing. Laura is also a mindfulness meditation practitioner.

Laura retired from teaching following her diagnosis of secondary breast cancer in 2007 and in the last thirteen years her focus has been on her family and her involvement in a number of charities including her voluntary work with Cancer Research UK as a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador and more recently as part of the administration team for the Building Resilience in Breast Cancer Centre. Laura became Patron of The Trinity Holistic Centre at The James Cook University Hospital in January 2020.

Her motto is ‘living with hope‘ and she is committed to raising awareness about the need for improved standards of care for people living with secondary breast cancer.

Laura is a point of contact for many women in the region who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Sharing her personal experience of living with the disease has helped her to cope with her own diagnosis and she considers it an honour to be a part of so many courageous women’s lives.