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Secondary Sisters

2260. Laura Middleton-Hughes

Laura Middleton-Hughes, from Norwich, is a cancer campaigner who co-founded ‘Secondary Sisters’ in 2019, an online support group of more than 28,000 people living with secondary cancer.

Laura herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, before going on to receive the diagnosis of secondary cancer in 2016. Wanting to do something to help others in the cancer community, Laura started volunteering with fellow Point of Light, Oa Hackett, on her cancer charity ‘Little Lifts’, which she has continued for the last six years.

In 2019, whilst on a photoshoot for a cancer campaign, Laura met Nicky Newman, who was also undergoing treatment for secondary cancer. Before meeting, both Laura and Nicky felt very alone with their diagnoses, and decided to set up ‘Secondary Sisters’ in 2019, with the aim of creating an online community to bring together and support other women with the same prognosis, while raising awareness and education around secondary cancers. The online community has since grown to a huge network around the country, and ‘Secondary Sisters’ have also worked with a range of cancer charities to help as many people as possible who are going through secondary cancers through their in person meet ups. Nicky passed away in September 2023, but Laura has remained committed to continuing the work of ‘Secondary Sisters’, which they started together.

Alongside the ‘Secondary Sisters’ platform and setting up the more local group, ‘Norfolk Secondary Sisters’, Laura has taken part in various fundraising activities for numerous cancer charities raising thousands of pounds, and has featured in many campaigns to raise awareness about life with secondary breast cancer.

Laura’s award follows ‘World Cancer Day’ on 4th February, to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

In a personal letter to Laura, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“I was inspired to learn of the extraordinary community of Secondary Sisters you built with Nicky Newman. Together you have helped more than 28,000 other women, ensuring they do not have to face this ordeal alone.

“I am so sorry that Nicky passed away and so grateful that you have carried on your vital work — and that you continue to do everything you can for as long as you can.

“I know you have also raised thousands of pounds for other cancer charities and helped to increase wider awareness of secondary cancer through numerous campaigns.”

Laura said:

“I am totally blown away with finding out today that I shall be receiving the 2260th Points of Light award. This is a huge honour and a wonderful surprise.

“Co-founding ‘Secondary Sisters’ alongside my late friend Nicky has to be one of my proudest achievements, and after she passed away last year, I always knew I wanted to continue the good work we started and keep it going, helping many more along the way.

“I do what I do with all the many charities I support, and the secondary community because it gives me a purpose and helping others has always been a huge priority of mine. I certainly never expected anything in return, but to be recognised for this from the Prime Minister has made me feel so proud of all I have achieved alongside living with my own incurable cancer diagnosis. 

“I intend to continue doing all I can, whilst I can and for as long as I can because if it can help make a small difference to just one person’s life and help them feel less alone, it is worth everything.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this award, it really does mean the world.”

Find out more about the ‘Secondary Sisters

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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