A living inspiration
Charlotte Pearson talks to a Worthing woman about making a difference to people’s lives.
In July, 2014, Andrea McQuistan found a lump in her breast which changed her life in ways she never imagined.
“It was a complete shock to the system,” she recalls. “They told me it was grade-three invasive breast cancer.
“I was started on invasive chemo to shrink the tumour and was then offered either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.”
Andrea opted for the mastectomy and this was followed by reconstructive surgery.
“When you look death in the face it really changes your outlook,” explains Andrea. “I was always a fairly honest person before but now I have cut out negativity in my life.
“I have also become a lot more patient.”
During her cancer treatment Andrea would visit St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and receive reflexology.
“Many people don’t realise that these treatments are available free of charge on the NHS to those with cancer or their carers,” she reveals. “I decided during this time that I wanted to give something back so spoke to Helen at Macmillan.”
This led to Andrea getting a volunteer job working in admin, but wanting to do more Andrea completed an accredited facial beauty diploma and started to offer her own beauty treatments.
“I offer facials to both men and women,” she says. “It is just time away for half an hour or so where they don’t have to think about chemotherapy, radiotherapy or cancer and they can just relax.
“I want to help people and the facials are a way for me to do this.”
The products Andrea uses are by Tropic and were created by Susan Ma, who was on series seven of The Apprentice.
Andrea came across the products when she was looking for items that didn’t contain any fragrance, perfume or alcohol.
“As part of my treatment I had my main lymph nodes removed and these deal with toxins in the body,” she explains. “I looked online at one’s like Neal’s Yard but it was quite expensive.
“A friend mentioned to me about Tropic and the fact its core skincare range is 100 per cent natural really appealed to me, and most of it is priced under £35.”
After using the products herself and seeing a noticeable difference in her skin Andrea became an independent ambassador and uses Tropic during her treatments.
“I work Thursdays at Laroma in Worthing and offer complimentary facials to those with cancer,” she explains. “It is not about devaluing the product but helping people feel great about themselves.”
Although she says that she looks better, Andrea admits she is still recovering from having cancer and undergoing treatment.
“Someone could drag a pin across the sole of my foot and I wouldn’t notice,” she adds. “Out of seven days a week four are not great and I try not to do more than one thing a day.
“People see you out and think you are better but they don’t know what is going on on the inside.”
One positive from her journey has been that Andrea got the opportunity to start her own business.
“I never had the chance before to work for myself,” she explains. “It has given me the chance to do something I have always wanted to do.”
Even though Andrea says that ‘cancer changes your world as you know it’ it seems in one way at least it gave her the opportunity to do something she always wanted to and help people feel great at the same time.
For more information on Tropic and to visit Andrea’s store, visit www.tropicskincare.co.uk/shop.andreamcquistan
For Laroma Therapies visit massage-worthing.co.uk
- October is breast cancer awareness month.
- Each year 55,000 people are diagnosed with it in the UK – that is one person every ten minutes.
- A third of women do not check their breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer and could be putting their lives at risk, according to YouGov figures.
- On its website it says there is ‘no right or wrong way to check your breasts’.
- A rough guideline for checking is every four to six weeks but ‘checking regularly’ means checking often enough to know what’s normal for you.
- For more information, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk
- Andrea is hosting a fund-raising event on December 10 at Storrington Village Hall to raise money for The Mary How Trust Cancer Prevention.
- The Mary How Trust – www.maryhowtrust.org
October 21, 2016 Fashion and Beauty