I was born in London, lived in multiple different countries before I turned 12, had struggled throughout school, and went through major back surgery at 14 years old, so safe to say I was used to dealing with some challenging situations. As I managed to get myself through high school and into university, which according to some of my teachers was never going to happen, I thought I had managed to get through the difficult stuff and was ready to move on with my life.
Turning 21, I was prepared for what was built up to be the best year yet! However, within weeks I found out this was not going be the case. I was told I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I need to undergo chemotherapy and radio theory in the following 6 to 9 months. This, as it would be to anyone, was a bit of a shock and yet another challenge. I would be lying if I said at times I sat asking myself why is this happening to me and what had I done to deserve this!
After the initial shock, I decided much like the challenges I had faced before to just to do what needs to be done and get through it. I had a close friend of mine say to me at the time your life is like the song “Don’t worry be happy” confused I asked him what he meant. His response was “I don’t understand how you do it, you have all this stuff to deal with and you look at it put a smile on your face and it doesn’t seem to worry you”. This is when it dawned on me that I had been doing this since I was a kid. When I got stuck in a poor situation or doing something I didn’t want to do I would make a joke have a laugh, do what needs to be done and get through it. It may seem like an odd way to take on a challenge but for me, this made thing easy.
Sometimes feel that my story is not worth everyone hearing due to it being too positive, from my point of view I didn’t experience too many days where I was feeling down, didn’t have too many symptoms of someone going through this type of illness. I had so much support from my family and friends to the point where I ended up hanging out at a mate’s places almost every day, and consumed enough café breakfasts to put a large dent in dad’s credit card and for this, I can’t thank everyone enough.
It might be hard to understand how I can come to such positives from such a terrible situation but I honestly believe I would not be where I am today without my experience. I finished my uni degree with better marks than I had gotten during any semester prior to falling ill and I am now working in an accounting firm and studying my Charted Accountancy all in my opinion due to the realisation that if I could get through treatment the rest would be easy.
In my opinion, if you are able to focus on what needs to be achieved while still enjoying yourself you can overcome even the most difficult situation.
2016 Ambassador: Emma White
Emma White is in one word, exuberant. Born and raised in Bunbury, WA she now is now living her dream as a paramedic in Perth.
‘Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it.’ This is how I have been living my life for the past six months. When there is a needle I didn’t want to have or a scan I was scared to do; all I needed was a few seconds of courage then it would be over or it would be more manageable.
Read more: Emma-white-story 2016
2015 Ambassador: Fiona Boyce
Former Olympian and professional hockey player, Fiona Boyce, realised her love for the sport when she began joining in with her older brother’s hockey sessions at about 4 years of age.
Her choice to become an Ambassador for SolarisCare is closely linked with her recent battle with stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma. The athlete said that being a Red Sky Ride Ambassador provides her with the opportunity to give back after receiving so much care and support from the Foundation.
Read more: fiona-boyce-story-2015
2014 Ambassador: Julia Pangbourn
In August 2008 I noticed that something didn’t feel quite right in my right breast, so I went to my GP for a check-up. From that initial consultation it became a whirlwind of appointments – firstly a mammogram, then an ultrasound and finally a core biopsy of the breast. The results came back that I had multiple sarcomas and I was given the news that because of the number of lumps I would have to have a mastectomy. After this news sunk in I decided that “just in case” I would prefer to have a bilateral mastectomy as I didn’t want to find cancer in my left breast at a later stage.
Read more: julia-pangbourn-story-2014
2013: Rosannagh Carslaw
2012: Chadia Scheel
2011: Simone Timms
2010: Sarah Jane Mitchell
2009: Rachel Mann
2008: Carys Gilbert