Best friends Louise and Laura turn to cooking after cancer shock

Louise Mallender and her friend Laura Reaney
Louise Mallender and her friend Laura Reaney

A determined mum has told of her brave long battle with hereditary breast cancer and how her love for cooking with her best friend has helped her cope with intense treatments.

The married food industry worker, who has a four-year-old daughter, Eryn, endured three operations and 18 weeks of chemotherapy before she was given the all clear.

However, the cancer returned six months later and she found out she has the mutated BRCA1 gene - meaning she is at ‘high risk’ of breast and ovarian cancer.

She has now just completed another 18 weeks of chemotherapy, 35 radiotherapy sessions and had her last operation on Monday, February 8.

“When I was diagnosed in December 2013, it was completely out of the blue,” Louise said.

“After being diagnosed I eventually returned to work but then I found another lump.

“During intense chemotherapy I was not allowed out of the house, so instead of missing out socially, I brought the social life into my house.”

Louise and her best friend Laura Reaney then decided to hold special theme nights, which involves cooking for each other at their homes.

Louise said: “Laura was not interested in cooking at all, she was very much a ready meal person.

“It kept my life normal, I did not want my little girl thinking that I was a person who stayed in bed all day.”

Louise and Laura, who have known each other for more than 24 years, regularly text each other about what they are cooking and Laura says the whole experience has also changed her family life for the better.

Laura said: “I was never really that into cooking and was quite happy leaving it all to my husband, but all that changed two years ago, although not in the best of circumstances.

“It was devastating news and a time in my life I will never forget.

“She had a passion for food and a love for cooking so I decided to try and I’ve never looked back.”

The friends have now set-up a food blog called ‘Gastronamis’ - derived from the words ‘friend’ and ‘food’ which they update regularly on the different dishes they prepare.

Visit Louise and Laura’s blog at