“Gemma’s zest for life and her determination to live life to the fullest and make a difference to other women and their health is truly inspirational. I know that fighting cancer is a full time job in itself – and yet Gemma has faced this battle with courage and positivity whilst also bringing up a family and starting a new business. It’s not easy – and yet – as Gemma shows us – it can be done! I want to wish Gemma all the success and happiness in life. She is really embodying and achieving her life purpose – and that itself is hugely inspiring.” Shalini
I first met Gemma Cockrell when she came to my Bollywood dance classes in Cranleigh. In 2013 Gemma was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately started treatment. But it was not to be the only time she was diagnosed. Her biggest challenge was telling her children that she had cancer – not once, not twice but three times. “Not being able to promise them that I would be ok or that it wouldn’t come back just broke my heart.”
But, Gemma didn’t take her cancer diagnosis lying down and fought it with radiotherapy and six operations – opting to have both her breasts removed in a double mastectomy.
“I’ve learned to love my mastectomy scars because they saved my life.
And if someone else doesn’t then that’s just too bad!”
Each of Gemma’s diagnoses of cancer has meant that she has realised that life may be shorter than she wanted it to be. This made her more determined to work hard and leave a legacy that meant that she would be remembered as a person who took the time, care and energy to make others feel good. And so following her second breast cancer diagnosis in 2015, she decided to set up her own company, Puremess, making truly luxurious natural skincare products that everyone could afford. The fact that the products she makes and sells are safe for cancer patients means a lot to her. “I consider my life purpose to make people happy in their own skin and one of the ways I do this is with my natural skin products which I make by hand.”
Three questions for Gemma:
What woman inspires you, and why?
Oprah Winfrey – she has suffered true adversity, racism, sexism, poverty and sexual assault and yet she manages to inspire hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to live a more positive life! WOW!
What book has inspired you the most in your life, and why?
The Invisible Revolution by Nicola Huelin. Nicola shares her personal pain and triumphs in this book, inspiring women to achieve their goals, whether in business or just in life. To me it’s been something I can turn to again and again given any situation I find myself in, personally or professionally.
Tell us something that would surprise us about you?
I posed topless in The Sun Newspaper for a mastectomy photoshoot!
Gemma’s message to other women is:
“You see far more of your physical flaws than anyone else. If we could all just accept ourselves, warts and all, we would be much happier. Be happy in your own skin – if you are an amazing person on the inside then this will show on the outside. ‘Stuff’ is irrelevant, you are all you need.”
LinkedIn: Gemma Cockrell
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