13 June 2022

My Life Now - meet Trust fundraiser Emily

It’s been 19 years since the Trust first set sail – what are the young people who have been on trips up to now? Our 'My Life Now' series shows a positive future after cancer is a reality. The Trust gave gap year student Emily the courage to believe in herself and dive into new challenges.

Em Shattock smiling in the sun with the sparkling sea behind herName – Emily Shattock

Age: 20

Diagnosis/year: Langerhans' cell Histiocytosis (LCH) 2015.

When did you first sail with the Trust: Summer 2017

What you do now: I am on my gap year working as a Spa Ambassador for Lush Spa Bath. I am going to University of Cumbria in Sept 2022 to study 'Outdoor Adventure with Environmental Studies BSc'.

Explain what that means: Quintessentially I currently act as the 'middle' person between sales assistants/ clients and spa therapists. My degree will consist of being trained (ice climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, sailing on research boats etc) to access extreme environments/climates to pursue critical environmental research.

Why did you do want to do this: I have always been interested in learning/ exploring the 'greater' or 'unknown' depths of life - with humanity or environmentally; in helping for the better.

What's the coolest thing you've done lately: I have signed up to swim Lake Coniston & Lake Ullswater back-to-back in June & July. I plan on using these events to fundraise for the Trust again following on from Lake Windermere Summer 2021.

Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery: Following on from treatment, my mental health was absolutely shattered. I was and still do struggle with body dysmorphia and am in recovery for bulimia. The Trust helped me gain an understanding that I am not alone in the remission world.

For the most part, we were all quite literally on the same boat. That alone was a major comfort. The Trust provides the crucial space that is so desperately needed for young people during and after treatment. Experiences such as this, especially for young people, still continue to remain unknown and incredibly daunting. The Trust provides an essence of normality that the outside world does not/ cannot.

What part has the Trust played in you doing what you are now? The Trust has significantly impacted my life and decisions for the better. They have been a part of my 'Light House Complex' since 2017 - acting as the light at the end of the tunnel every annum/ after a rough patch.

The opportunities they have provided me with have been golden. I now feel comfortable and confident making my own decisions, saying "no" to things, saying more "yes" to focus on myself, and to never be afraid to venture out on my own into an unknown environment and meet new people. Most importantly, the Trust taught me the much-needed people skills that were lost during treatment.

What's your top tip for young people looking towards a brighter future? First and foremost welcome, you do not need to indulge in change - you are perfect as you are. You do not need to alter yourself to fit an expectation of 'who' or the 'type of person' that can or cannot do a certain thing/job. All you need to do is believe in yourself and tell yourself you are capable of doing anything you want to pursue in life.

Treatment has left us all with scars one way or another. We can't waste our energy trying to move on and ignore the experiences we have been through in order to simply 'fit-in'.

The best thing we can do is to focus our energy on loving ourselves for who we are, loving our bodies after everything they have been through. Once we have taken the time to truly accept and feel comfortable with who we are, along with our new-normals, you will find you'll be able to pursue any opportunity that come your way. If a door to an opportunity doesn't open, don't worry about it, there's a better route/ doorway waiting for you somewhere else :)

Build your experiences, learn from them, pursue the things that truly make you happy. You have been through a lot, never be afraid to take the time you need and to communicate this; amazing people listen & work with you, not against you.

Good luck to Emily in her Lake Coniston and Ullswater swims this summer, you can support her here.