When high-flying business woman and mother of two Anitra Camargo was diagnosed with secondary cancer in 2010, naturally she was devastated. However, just over a year later, she opened a new Home Instead Senior Care franchise business based in Egham, covering the area of Windsor and Runnymede.
Since then life has been a whirlwind of treatment (all successful, thank goodness) and she had to make major changes to ensure that she could live the life she wanted, now and in the future.
She says that it was her experience that led her to meet some amazing people who have changed her life for the better and who inspired her to want to give back. Setting up her own franchise business has been part of a truly life-changing period of her life.
Anitra previously worked for a London software company which relocated her to New York to take on the demanding role of vice president. She was in New York during 9/11, which motivated her to move back home to the UK, only to be in London during the 7/7 attacks here.
She says: “Even back in the UK life was hectic, I was travelling twice a week looking after accounts in Europe. When I first suspected I was ill, I dismissed it as a low priority because I was too busy. Looking back, I suppose you think it’s not going to happen to you.
“Having experienced the treatment and care that I had been given, I was and still am totally in awe of the fantastic nurses and carers that looked after me. The work that they do for others totally inspired me to live a new life and dedicate myself to helping others. Through my Home Instead Senior Care franchise venture I have been able to use my knowledge and business experience to do what really matters in life, which is ensuring good quality care is available for people when they need it, whilst building a really successful franchise business.”
Anitra continues: “You do see a lot of bad press about the care sector and my family has had personal experience of care services that are very poor. I knew that I wanted to change this and when I discovered Home Instead, I could see that their vision and my personal vision matched, this was how care should be delivered.
“For Home Instead to be a franchise was perfect as it enabled me to be up and running relatively quickly. I knew I would receive a great deal of support which is ongoing and reassuring and of course it is a tried and tested business model that works!”
Away from the office Anitra is a keen theatre goer, her favourite being Shakespeare. She also enjoys walking and keeping fit.