Naheed Akbar, 59, was born in India. She now lives in Golders Green with her adopted daughter, Seher, who is 21 years old. Naheed and her husband adopted Seher when she was just six months old.
Naheed came to the UK in 1974 when her husband was offered a job opportunity in London. Unfortunately her husband was diagnosed with Leukaemia and passed away when Seher was just 3 and a half years old but Naheed decided to stay in the UK to study. After helping out as an assistant at her daughters school Naheed found a desire to teach and decided to enrol at Herts University to train as a teacher. She intended to study for her joint BA honours degree in English and History and then to go on to do her PGCE.
However, in the first year of her degree Naheed found a very small lump whilst checking herself. Being very self aware she decided to go and have it checked by a doctor. Initially the doctor told her it was nothing to worry about but Naheed chose to go to the hospital just to put her mind at rest.
Unfortunately the lump was cancerous and Naheed underwent surgery to remove the tumour which put a delay on her studying.
Whilst in remission Naheed was checked up on every six months. In the fifth year Naheed detected another lump which was much larger than before. Despite having the best treatment throughout her remission the lump did go undetected until a young doctor sent her for a biopsy and it came back showing a very aggressive tumour which led to Naheed having a mastectomy.
Whilst being treated at the Royal Free Hospital the staff advised Naheed on Nicola Jane and their offerings. Naheed first bought by mail order but when the London shop opened she has since always shopped there. “It is easier to try garments on, although even when I bought by mail order the items were always the right fit and I have never had to return anything” says Naheed.
The modelling opportunity came about when Naheed was shopping for a new swimming costume. She asked the London shop manager – Aimee Porter, why Nicola Jane always used young, twenty-something, pretty girls with perfect breasts to model their clothes instead of using real life models. Aimee took Naheed’s comments on board and six months later when the new catalogue was being put together got in contact with Naheed who was happy to help, and model for them.
Naheed currently volunteers as a Reiki practitioner with Cancerkin at the Royal Free Hospital. Cancerkin is a charity which provides support to women and men with breast cancer in the London area. Naheed says “I know only too well how breast cancer can rob a woman of her confidence so doing something which might help restore that confidence gives me great reward. Having a mastectomy does not mean the end of the world and companies like Nicola Jane help people like myself, who have had surgery, get that femininity back.”
In 2007 Naheed unfortunately was diagnosed with breast cancer in her remaining breast and has recently undergone her second mastectomy. She is has now made a full recovery after sessions of chemotherapy as put of her treatment. Through out this time she still managed to volunteer with Cancerkin and help other ladies who are going through a similar challenging time.
Mrs Akbar modelling at the shoot
Modelling the vest top V007