Introduce yourself

Hey – I’m Charlotte, a 29 year old charity worker currently living and very much enjoying the London life! I was recently introduced to the world of charity (specialising in cancer) in 2015 when my life changed pretty drastically and very suddenly. In March 2015 after a good couple of years of mis-diagnosis I was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Dang! According to one GP, I was ‘too young for anything serious to be wrong’…

But in fact I wasn’t too young. I was diagnosed with a cancer that is most common in the under 30s – Lymphoma! I had never heard of lymphoma, until I was sat being told my body was riddled with tumours.

Now if I didn’t know about it, I’m sure there’s a ton of other young adults that don’t know about it!  It was because of this that two months after my diagnosis I decided to change the world and raise awareness of a cancer that needs some light shone on it. I decided to set up and run a charitable organisation to raise awareness and educate young adults on the signs and symptoms. This organisation is currently known as Lumped with Lymphoma.  

Cancer is massive part of my life now but it doesn’t take up all of it. I love exploring and travelling. Since my diagnosis I’ve travelled to 4 different countries – looking to make that 7 by the end of 2017. I’ll have the world covered in no time!

What has your biggest success been to date?

I think my biggest success to date is discovering the resilience and strength of my body. Upon my diagnosis I was thrown into a pretty terrifying world of hospitals, tests, chemotherapy and not knowing how my body would cope and whether I would live – I still don’t know.

I’m living with cancer, a very hideous, horrible disease but it has changed my life for the better – I’m sure that sounds a little weird to some! However, I now appreciate the small things, laugh at the silly things, I’m kinder, more selfless and understanding, I’ve opened my heart to love and I’m the happiest I have ever been because of it. I’ve discovered I’m not just ‘the girl with cancer’, or ‘the girl that didn’t take on risks before the cancer’, I’m much more. I’ve gone to hell and back and discovered a lot about myself and all that I am able to accomplish in the process.

Another success, because I couldn’t possibly leave it out, is being in the process of registering my charitable organisation as an OFFICIAL charity!

What has been the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome in order to achieve that success?

The battle inside my head – to keep my thoughts positive, to not allow myself to stray too often to the fear of what was happening and to keep my mind and body focused on being healthy.  

How did you overcome it?

I was very lucky to have a great support system around me. As much as possible I took control of my treatment. From cutting my hair, before the inevitable thinning and falling out started, to focusing my energy into healthy eating – this is included; cutting sugar, dairy and meat out of my diet and including lots of nutrient rich, immune boosting foods and supplements I’d never had before! I also had alternative treatments – reiki, reflexology, acupuncture.  It’s about keeping my mind as well as my body healthy.

What are most proud of in your life so far and why?

I’m extremely proud to be at the stage of registering my charitable organisation as an official charity! To have the backing of my girlfriend, family, friends and strangers fully supportive and forever encouraging me and the cause, which only goes to strengthen my determination for it to succeed and also proves to me the need for it.

In the summer of 2016 we took they charity on a tour of festivals to speak to young adults and quite shockingly 80% of the people we spoke to had no idea what lymphoma was, the signs and symptoms of it or that it was the most common cancer for their age. I’m proud that as a charity we will be educating and raising awareness and hopefully saving lives.

What is your greatest ambition for the future?

To go on plenty more adventures – to travel and see as much of the world and cultures as possible. Also to have a ton of cats.

What would your superpower be?

Ah tricky one. Time travel because it would be utterly incredible to see the wonders of the world as they were. And also to fuel my alien conspiracy mind and discover that the Pyramids were in fact built by little green men.

Flying – because it would make my travelling the world much easier and extra awesome, it would also mean I would no longer be late for things due to Southern Railway strikes!

You can check out Charlotte’s amazing charity and read more about her journey using the following links:

Twitter: @bebodybrave