I have a truly inspirational woman in my family and the pleasure to include her into our monthly feature of Mums in Business. What a journey she has been on! Meet my sister in law, Nic Naish….
Myself, hubby and 2 year old daughter moved to Worthing in 2002 from Brighton. We were about to adopt his little brother (13 years old, so not that little!) and simply needed more space than we could afford in Brighton & Hove.
As both of us are artists and musicians, it was a wrench leaving arty Brighton; but needs must!
We had no family or friends in Sussex at the time, but when you’ve got children it’s easy to get out there and mingle.Initially I found Worthing a bit too “white, middle classed ” but the arts were there if you looked for them. As the 15 years have gone by Worthing has most definitely improved it’s game. I guess as more of us move from London and Brighton and set up the businesses we love, Worthing goes from strength to strength.
I had returned to teaching since my daughter started school, until I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer late 2009.
Actually, rewind! In 2007/8 I was struggling with work place politics, the government’s input on education and a lack of community spirit in Worthing. So we looked in to emigrating to Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2008 we identified a region we liked, and a small town that suited the 3 of us and started the application.
In 2009 we were accepted but our plans were turned upside down with my cancer diagnosis.
Most of 2010 was spent in treatment. Worthing Hospital did me proud!!
Having lost my mum 6 years earlier to the same cancer I wasn’t about to roll over quietly and give in. By this time my daughter was 9 years old.
Instinctively I knew I had to stay mobile. I’d just run my first half marathon and although I couldn’t run every day through surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, I did walk miles! And I juiced!!! Boy, did I juice! I pre-empted the various consequences of the treatment I was receiving and found the vegetable, fruit, meat or fish that would help restore balance.
1 year, 2 mastectomies, 2 reconstructions, chemo and radiotherapy later I was ready to start rebuilding.
By the time I’d run my first two marathons I knew there was no way I could go back to my old life. I wanted to tell the world what a difference exercise and nutrition can make to your cancer experience and your chances of surviving it!
But I only had my experience, as fantastic as it was, it was still only anecdotal.
So the last 4 years have been filled with study… First fitness instruction, levels 1 and 2, then level 3, personal training. This was great but the fitness industry appeared to be synonymous with slimming, not nutrition. I believed our food could be so much more than calories, so I enrolled on a degree course in Naturopathic Nutrition.
At the end of 2015 I launched Bandana Health and Fitness; in 2016 I opened my own studio in Tarring Road near West Worthing station; in 2017 I added the Macmillan “Move More” programme to my list of roles.
To fund all of this I still work in school as an artist in residence in Littlehampton. I get up at 4:30am, make packed lunches, do a little (quiet) housework then teach 2 classes before doing my day job, then back in the studio late afternoons and evenings and weekends. I work and study 7 days a week but it’s SO worth it!
The irony..I wanted to leave Worthing in pursuit of more community spirit. Walking, shopping, talking to my immediate community throughout my year of treatment taught me that the sense of community was HERE, if you engage in it!!
Another irony; I became a teacher to make my parents proud and yet my proudest achievement is in turning my back on conventional teaching and creating and delivering Bandana! I have created a community based business, from scratch, with no working capitol, that is spreading the word about an holistic way to restore balance to improve life, health and mental well-being.
I’ve followed a dream, supported by a few key friends and my husband and daughter. It has been, and still is ridiculously hard work. I’m not quite there yet as far as taking a proper wage and I don’t know many people that put in the hours I do! There again, I don’t know many people that are as happy as I am!
Nic runs her own studio in West Worthing which provides nutrition advice and exercise classes based on facts without any of the typical unrealistic or artificial diet fads.
Find her at: https://www.bandanahealthandfitness.co.uk/
She also is part of the fantastic Move More campaign by MacMillan Cancer Support. Find out more about this campaign here: Move More by MacMillan