Sasha's story | Education Support Partnership

Sasha's story

Cancer knocked Sasha for six and she couldn’t work - so we stepped in with a grant.

It could happen to anyone. But it happened to former schools project manager Sasha Leacock. After what she assumed was just another routine self breast examination she found a lump. Every woman’s fear. When it turned out to be breast cancer and cancer of the lymph nodes, Sasha was told she needed aggressive chemotherapy, then surgery followed by radiation treatment. A gruelling journey to beat the disease as unavoidable.

Sasha Leacock, 47, a single mother with daughter, Eden, 19, says her life spiralled into a whirlwind of hospital visits, tests, meetings with specialists then an exhausting round of chemotherapy which leaving her unable to work.

"The draining nature of my treatment cycles and its ghastly side effects meant I had to stop work which left me struggling to survive on an extremely low income with insufficient money to cover my outgoings," says Sasha who was self employed when she was diagnosed.

It was only by sheer chance she found out about Education Support and its grants programme for anyone who’s ever worked in education. 

"It was a Macmillan Cancer Support nurse who suggested I apply for an Education Support Partnership grant. I hadn’t even heard of Ed Support but from the minute I called, I felt that they genuinely understood and wanted to help.

"Getting the confirmation I’d been awarded a grant was such a huge relief. It took a massive weight off my mind.

"Struggling to survive incredibly gruelling cancer treatment is tough enough without money worries on top. Ed Support gave me peace of mind and is vital in helping me to fight cancer."

Sasha received a total grant of £839 to put towards her essential expenses.

Until November 2016, when she was made redundant, Sasha was employed at a boys secondary school which specialized in performing arts. Her work took her into the community and working with a whole family of schools including primary, specialist and filter schools. 

"The school I worked at wanted to specialize in the arts because it was an all-boys school and they wanted to move away from the stereotype of boys’ schools specializing in sport or other subjects presumed to be more male. Arts work helps with communications skills. You can use drama to teach science, maths or art for its own sake. The idea is to expose young people or the client group to different art forms. For older people that can include reminiscence projects. It’s lovely work and I enjoyed it very much. Following my redundancy I went freelance.

“However chemotherapy is so exhausting just getting up out a chair can sometimes make me feel as if I’ve been winded. I couldn’t carry on working while I was having that treatment and my specialist told me it was best I didn’t work in order to allow my body to recover."

Thanks to the help from Ed Support Sasha can now slowly recover from her debilitating treatment programme and gradually get back to school.

Watch Sasha tell her story

What can you do?

To meet the rising demand for our grants service, we need your help. Can you support education staff in financial crisis by making a donation.