There is a Healthy Pot Noodle, and This is The Man Behind it
Damien Lee: four time cancer survivor, single father and successful entrepreneur
The Sydney born, Bournemouth based creator of Mr Lee’s Noodle’s, has certainly had his fair share of obstacles to overcome on the road to success.
The single father of two young boys, and owner of start-up company 'Designed Gadgets' was diagnosed with stage four cancer back in 2015, determined to beat it, he adopted a completely raw diet and went through intense treatment.
A year later he'd come out the other side in complete remission, but his absence would come at the cost of his old business.
I met with the down to earth motorbike enthusiast, to find out exactly what he did after, and what drove him to answer the student fantasy of 'What if Pot Noodle wasn't awful for your insides?'
“I spent 12 months getting through my diagnosis and when I came out the other side, I’d actually lost my original start-up company. All the people I had in that business, no one thought I was going to make it, I was the driving force behind the company and people had to get on with their lives. So it was kind of a ‘what do I do now?’ moment.”
The answer to 'What do I do now' came when Damien reflected on a business trip he took to China before his diagnosis.
It was during this trip that he was introduced to two brothers who owned the fifth biggest instant noodle company in the country. When Damien asked the brothers what their favourite flavour was, they smiled and said ‘We don’t eat our own noodles, and if you knew what we put in them you wouldn’t either!’
It was perhaps the hypocrisy here, along with his own passion for the food, that led him to create the first ‘healthy noodle company’. He also decided to encompass the clean eating habits that he'd developed during treatment.
This was already a roster of impressive achievements, but as the interview went on, I realised I'd barely scratched the surface.
“I was in the Army Commando’s in Australia. For me it was one of those things as a boy I always wanted to be in the army. My ambition was if I’m going to be in the army, I want to be in the hardest part of it, and I want to be in special forces”
Although Damien left the Australian Army when he was 26, his time serving seems to heavily influence his tenacity and drive now.
“A lot of people ask me where I get my inspiration and motivation from, I take it back to those days. You build a mindset in that type of a unit where there are no barriers. Everything is achievable and you don’t take no for an answer. You have to push beyond wherever you thought you could push yourself before.”
As well as running his Bournemouth based business, Damien also owns a single use plastic replacement company in London. Not long ago they won a global competition that was put on by McDonald's and Starbucks to find a replacement for their cups and straws. Damien’s new plant-based replacements are completely harmless to nature and totally ocean friendly.
“It’s a little bit of legacy I want to leave to the earth, to make the world a better place.”
It was hard not to feel inspired after the interview was done.
Damien Lee has overcome every obstacle thrown his way, and I look forward to seeing what else he’s got planned in the future.