15 January 2020

My Life Now - meet Charlotte

It’s been 17 years since the Trust first set sail – what are the young people who have been on trips up to now?

Being diagnosed with cancer can change your outlook and shape your future aspirations, but many young people lack the confidence to believe in themselves and their abilities after treatment - this is where the Trust comes in. In our inspirational 'My Life Now' series, young people share what their lives look like years on from their time with the Trust. This month meet Charlotte Butterworth.



Synovial Sarcoma in cheek, aged 6 (2003)

When you first sailed with the Trust?

What you do now?
I am currently studying a Masters degree at Imperial College London in Cancer Biology Research.

Explain what that means?
I get to work in a lab as a scientist, researching about why we get cancer and helping to develop new treatments.

Why did you do want to do this?
Being an inquisitive child had always led me to question how and why I had cancer. I was always interested in science at school and developed a passion for wanting to understand more about the disease and how the human body works. I want to make an impact to the future of research and the treatment options available, particularly for young people where access to new drugs is often restricted.

What's the coolest thing you've done lately?
I am currently working at a small start up company, helping to develop a new gene therapy system for more personalised targeted therapies and I am excited about developing future treatments that don't have the same associated devastating side effects.

Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery?
Meeting other young people who fully understood what it was like to go through cancer is something really special and allowed me to feel normal again, in a way that other friends couldn’t relate to. Having conversations on trips and realising that the struggles I had been experiencing were similar for others, made returning to normal life a little easier. I am extremely grateful for the friendships made on every single trip, particularly those who I am in regular contact with still.

What part has the Trust played in you doing what you are now?
Going on the Trust trips as a young person allowed me to realise that I could still do anything I wanted with my life. Graduate volunteers on the trips that had “normal” lives after treatment and were at university or with jobs, helped me see beyond the disease. I think that having cancer made me more determined to work hard and be successful in everything I do.

What's your top tip for a young person interested in working in your field?
Use your experiences to help shape your future. As part of an essay in an A level module, I contacted and met up with a researcher who led a clinical trial that I had been a patient on during treatment, with the help from my consultants. It was an amazing opportunity to understand how significant my participation in that trial had been and how the researchers had used the information collected to understand more about cancer, inspiring me to go into research in the future