A Zim Woman has been named a Community Champion in the UK.

Zim Woman a Community Champion
Vanessa Baggage

An inspirational mother whose fight against breast cancer lead to her raising awareness about the disease in the UK and Zimbabwe has been named Community Champion in this year’s Zimbabwe Achievers Awards.

Vanessa Babbage, who moved to the UK in 2003 with her two children, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2008. The 45-year-old human resources co-ordinator works for the Princes Trust helping disadvantaged children. She had to have a mastectomy and reconstruction followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy.

“Cancer changes you forever. I thought it was a death sentence but now I feel like a million dollars. I’ve completely changed my lifestyle, doing more exercise, eating healthily and taking better care of myself. Cancer made me confront things deep down I knew I had to change.”

She said after her battle she wanted to give something back and so volunteered to help Cancer Research UK. She volunteers for the charity in the UK, helping co-ordinate events and speaking publically about the impact the disease has had on her and her family.

“The power of my speaking stems from the love of life, family and close friends. As well as speaking publically I have appeared in the Cancer Research UK high profile on national television, radio and on line advertising. My story is used to educate staff about the impact of cancer.”

She now features in an advert shown nationally in the UK to get people to donate to Cancer Research.

“In doing all this work I always remember my Heritage and that is I am proud to be a Zimbabwean and no matter what I do, I always raise high the flag of Zimbabwe as well of the profile of Cancer Research.

“I have become aware that there are also Cancer Charities in Zimbabwe which I could help and I have now established a link with Mrs Junior Mavu of The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe and we will be working together to see how I can help our fellow Zimbabweans who are affected by cancer.

She said she was “greatly honoured” and “thrilled” to win the Zimbabwe Achievers Award above many other excellent candidates.

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