In February 1995 age 2, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Paravertebral Ganglio Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggresive form of childhood cancer.
For the next 14 months of my life I underwent numerous lifesaving treatments including, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and several surgeries.
It’s now been 16 years since I have completed my treatment and I have been told there have been no signs of recurrent disease.
As a result of some of the harsh treatments recieved as a child such as the radiotherapy and the chemo, there are secondary conditions I have developed such as mild scoliosis, underactive thyroid and raynauds disease.
Despite all of the obstacles that have been thrown at me I refuse to give up. I believe that wherever my mind can go my body will follow.
Defying the odds I took up powerlifting 3 years ago, as a way to strengthen my mind, and body. It is important to keep stong both mentally and phsyically when in remission to keep your immune system strong for as long as possible.
It is through powerlifting, that I learnt that the only limits we have are the limits which we set ourselves. Having a neuroblastoma diagnosis doesn’t mean doom. Last year as a result of my consant determination, hard work and refusal to give up I was sponsered by adidas and had the privellage of being on over 30 billboards accross London. There IS life outside of cancer and I am proof.
Being a survivor isn’t just about living. It’s about defying the odds when they are stacked against you. It is about saying you can when everyone thinks that you cant. It’s about refusing to give up no matter how hard it gets, and most importantly it’s about enjoying every moment and loving with every breath.
I have been left with a 20 inch scar which spreads from my belly button (navel) all the way to my spine. Every time I look in the mirror I am left with a constant reminder of everything I have been through and everything I have had to overcome in order to be where I am today.
It took me many years to accept the physical and the mental scars that having cancer has left behind, for years, I have hidden my scar. Ashamed of how people will react. Afraid people will judge me or ask questions. For so long I have remained silent about my past, in fear that people will feel sorry for me or treat me different.
But today I am ready to break the silence.
Nobody is perfect for it is our imperfections that make us unique.
My scars tells a story and remind me that the past is real.
One thing I have learnt is that it’s ok to talk about it. I beat cancer and I am proud. I am alive and I am grateful. Neuroblastoma is one of the most aggresive types of childhood cancer and treating it can be both hard and costly, but i’m still here.
I am not only living my life for myself, I am living my life for every child out their who has ever battled or is still battling with neuroblastoma. I am living for all those who have survived and I am living for those who have lost their lives. I am flying the flag for anyone who has and who will ever be affected by neuroblastoma. Your strength is my strength and together we will beat this!
So today, I wear my scars with pride. Because I am a fighter and I have survived xx