Case study - Overcoming cancer and setting up pet sitting business

Michell Winney and horse

Just two years ago Michelle, 44, from Abingdon, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy, trying hard to stay positive and upbeat, keeping up with running, walking her dog and having reiki to try and boost her energy. But her treatment made her lose her hair and left her feeling low.

“Everything was pretty horrible,” she said. “But I couldn’t allow myself to spiral. Although I live with my partner Nathan now, at that point I was looking after my five kids alone. I had to pull myself together.

“I was going to a breast cancer support group, which is where I had the reiki sessions. I found they really worked for me, leaving me feeling more energised and positive. The instructor suggested that I train up myself, but I wasn’t sure. Then she told me about animal reiki and something clicked. I knew that it was something I was interested in, as I’ve always loved being around animals.

“I passed the course, but wasn’t sure where to take things next. It was at that point that I found out about the support that Sovereign offers. I met with Shay, an employment and training officer and he really helped me to focus on what I wanted to achieve.

“He helped me get my life straight, setting me up with an appointment to go through my finances and get things sorted out. He told me that he saw something in me, he was so positive, it made me feel positive too. That’s when I decided to set up my own business, and in August 2018 MW Animal Wellbeing was born. I walk dogs, and look after all kinds of pets when their owners are away on holiday, from parrots to cats to horses. I’ve always had a way with animals but the reiki gives me that extra edge, that ability to calm and soothe them. Sovereign supported me to get the insurance I needed and even helped with my uniform.

“I just didn’t think it could happen for me, but here I am doing something I love every day - and feeling so good about it.”


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