19 November 2020

My Life Now - meet Harriet

It’s been 17 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. When Harriet relapsed it was the Trust support that lifted her spirits and gave her the confidence to return to university and complete her degree.

Name: Harriet Miller

Age: 27

Diagnosis/year: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. First diagnosed in 2011 and relapsed in 2014.

When first sailed with the Trust: First sailed with the Trust 2012 and now I volunteer on trips.

What you do now: I currently work as a Microbiologist for Welsh Water.

Explain what that means?

I work in a laboratory and analyse water samples from across the whole of Wales. The results and data I create confirms whether the water is clean to drink, therefore maintaining public health.

Some of the microorganisms I test for include:

Why did you do want to do this?

After studying Biosciences with Microbiology and Infectious Disease at Exeter University, I wanted to combine my passion for science with one of the most important resources for life – Water. I love learning and found the water industry to have a broad base to start my career.

What's the coolest thing you've done lately?

During lockdown I have recently taken up a new hobby of mountain biking to occupy my time. I am very lucky to be surrounded by many hills and mountains where I can go and ride even when the pandemic restrictions were at their peak. I have also managed to visit north Wales this summer and explore some of the top mountain biking trails. Meanwhile in my career, as part of my ongoing development I have been acknowledged as a Registered Scientist through The Royal Society of Biology.

Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery?

I bottled up my feelings through my treatment in 2011. I was unable to show how I was truly feeling and at times when I was struggling. The Trust helped me open up and share my experiences to people who understood exactly what it was like, enabling me to fully come to terms mentally with what happened.

The amazing friends I met through the Trust could relate to the ups and downs of fighting cancer and during this recovery I started to feel like myself again.

What part has the Trust played in you doing what you are now?

When my cancer relapsed in 2014, I wasn’t coping mentally with my recovery. The Trust family were there for me and completely picked up my spirits. I felt empowered when learning sailing skills and overall, it gave me the confidence to return to university to complete my degree.

Becoming a volunteer for the Trust has greatly improved my confidence and I strive to return as much as I can. I love being able to use my experience to help and meet others who are fighting cancer and witnessing the difference the Trust makes to everyone that it helps.

What's your top tip for a young person interested in working in your industry?

I never knew what direction to go with my career, everyone has a different path and if you don’t know what career you are aiming for then that is okay. Learn as much as you can and explore all that interests you! Things will find a way of working out and falling into place in the end.