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I’m Saima Thompson and I run multi award winning restaurant Masala Wala Cafe in south London, an entrepreneur and thanks to a recent cancer diagnosis now writer and public speaker.

After being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at 29 years old my life changed forever, now a cancer patient I was determined to bring my worlds of food and health together.

Proving to myself and others that palliative care isn’t the end of LIVING.

I suffered mentally after the news but through sheer determination I worked through life’s traumas with coping strategies and look to carry the diagnosis with me.

My focus has been to raise awareness and connect with people from BAME backgrounds so others do not feel alone when they get the news.

There is a total lack of conversation around disease let alone cancer, this is due to cultural shame, taboo and lack of education, integration especially with elders.

Because of the silence, the statistics are shocking and people are dying unnecessarily being staged late in our communities.

I have written pieces for refinery 29, huffington post, vice and featured in national campaigns for Macmillan cancer support, Cancer research UK & Roy Castle lung cancer foundation.

I was named top 100 change maker by the big issue and top 50 #femail by the daily mail for my efforts to speak out.

I guest co hosted the BBC 5 podcast ‘You me and big C’ speaking about the topic of culture and cancer and am currently working on a cook book & podcast.

To contact:

Email saima_arshad@hotmail.co.uk

@saimathompson