Chesterfield woman given six months to live in 2010 continues to beat odds by opening new business

A woman from Chesterfield who was diagnosed with terminal cancer 11 years ago and given just six months to live is continuing to defy all expectations, recently opening a salon in Clay Cross.

By Tom Hardwick
Monday, 29th November 2021, 1:18 pm
Laura and her daughter Lake
Laura and her daughter Lake

Laura Neeve was told she had six months to live back in 2010, after being diagnosed with a rare cancer.

She was also told she would never be able to have children - but she managed to prove doctors wrong on both accounts.

Mrs Neeve said: “In 2010 I was told I had incurable cancer, I had two rounds of chemo and neither worked. They told me because I didn't have a chance to freeze my eggs, I couldn’t have children – but in 2015 I had Lake.

Molly Watts and Laura Neeve in the new Beige Studio in Clay Cross.

“She’s just incredible. I know most parents think their kids are incredible, but she’s just amazing - I can’t put into words how much she saved me.”

Mrs Neeve was diagnosed with hepatic epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, a cancer that affects the lungs, liver, blood and soft tissue. It is incredibly uncommon, with only one in every one million people worldwide being diagnosed with EHE.

She has, however, refused to let this stop her life.

Mrs Neeve married her partner Lewis this year in Bakewell, and not even the added difficulties of the pandemic could stop her from launching her new business.

Laura Neeve and Molly Watts outside the new Beige Studio.

She said refusing to simply accept her prognosis has helped her get through, and that despite what she has endured, she has everything she wanted in her life.

“I just take a load of painkillers and crack on. If I’d have sat and accepted that information that long ago, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she added.

“Things absolutely get better. I struggled with depression the whole time, and if you told me at that point that I’d be where I am now, there’s no way I would’ve believed you. Since then I’ve got married, I’ve got a family, I’ve got a business – I’m set for life now.”

Her new business is the Beige Studio on Market Street in Clay Cross which she opened with co-owner Molly Watts a fortnight ago.

The beauty studio offers a range of services, including waxing, pedicures, eyebrows and nail enhancements.

Mrs Neeves said the response she and Ms Watts had received so far was overwhelmingly positive, with both customers and local businesses showing their support.

“We’ve been open two weeks and the response has been amazing, all the other businesses on our street have been so welcoming, everyone has been so nice in Clay Cross.

“I’m so happy with where we are, the whole vibe is so different and it's nice to be surrounded by supportive people – me and Molly have worked together now for three years and I couldn’t do it without her.”

Mrs Neeves said that her and Ms Watts’ decision to start a business venture was cemented during lockdown. Neither was satisfied with the job roles they had, and she said the pandemic helped them realise that life was too short to keep doing things that they were not enjoying.

“Me and Molly worked in a salon together but that job role wasn’t fulfilling us, working in a role where you’re not appreciated grinds you down after a while.

“When it came to lockdown, we just thought we should do this for ourselves. It was definitely a kickstart for us to say, if you don’t like what you’re doing, change it – you’ve got to grab everything with both hands.”

Owing to the rarity, Laura said medics are now unsure how long she has left to live – although the incurable diagnosis still stands.

She said she was devastated upon being diagnosed, but has always strived to stay positive and has raised in excess of £5,000 for Weston Park Cancer Charity since her diagnosis.