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Michelle Lane opened children’s shoe shop Soles With Heart in Swan Street in April, after leaving her 25-year-long career as a hairdresser.
But little more than a month later she made the devastating discovery that she had stage two breast cancer.
The 44-year-old, of Bradbourne Park Road, East Malling, has since undergone a gruelling programme of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and has had a double mastectomy.
She said having her own business spurred her on in her fight against the disease.
She said: “I was very ill with the chemotherapy but I did still go into work as much as I could, or busy myself with the paperwork.
“The treatment was evil, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
“Then when I found out the chemo hadn’t worked I thought I was a goner.
“It was the shop that kept me going. I knew I was going to lose my hair but I wasn’t going to lose my business.
“Cancer had taken enough from me and that drove me on. I thought: ‘I’ll fight this.”
Michelle’s determination meant she would return to the shop hours after undergoing radiotherapy.
She has now finished radiotherapy treatment and is waiting for an update on her condition.
Now all her hard work has been rewarded, after her buisness was shortlisted for Best New Independent Shoe Shop at the Footwear Industry Awards.
She said: “It was just so exciting to be nominated. I was halfway through my radiotherapy when I found out and I was in a lot of pain and that just gave me a little boost.
“We have had such amazing feedback from customers and the traders nearby have been really supportive, helping to look after the shop when I can’t get there.
“The best thing was I knew nothing about it – I didn’t apply, I was nominated so the first I heard was when I got a call from a supplier who said they had just voted for me.”
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on Sunday, February 16, just days before the shop’s first anniversary.
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