18 February 2021

My Life Now - meet Krissi

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. The Trust cemented Krissi's love for helping people which led her to support students in her role as the democracy and engagement manager at the University of Bedfordshire.

Name: Krissi Cartwright-Riley

Age: 24

Diagnosis/year: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia 2001

When first sailed with the Trust: 2009

What you do now: I'm the democracy & engagement manager at Beds SU, the official Students' Union of the University of Bedfordshire

Explain what that means?

The students' union represent students when they come to University, I'm in charge of recruiting volunteers, writing and delivering their training, and supporting them within their roles. I manage a team in charge of making sure students get their voices heard and lobby the university to make changes to improve students' time at university.

Why did you do want to do this?

If I'm honest if you asked me three years ago, I wouldn't know what this job was. I started at the SU working with student societies and then got an offer to take on the role as a manager. I've always wanted to help people and love delivering training and mentoring people so it was a no-brainer, in the end, to take on the role. It's been hard work and a real challenge but every day is different in my role and that's given me so many opportunities that keep me amused (and always learning!)

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

Ooh, that's a hard one especially considering lockdown... I learned to knit which was fun and a lot of my friends got hand-knitted gifts for Christmas!

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

I always felt like the odd one out and the only thing that made me, me was my cancer. The Trust allowed me to be me without cancer and that gave me the confidence to show people my true personality and show off the things I'm good at.

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

The Trust cemented my love for helping people, and really appreciate that loving what you do is so so important.

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

Not really a tip for getting into this field but a tip for if you are like me a didn't quite know what you want to do: take opportunities when you can, every opportunity teaches you something- even if it's helping you find out that's not what you want to do and ultimately it's okay not to know what you want to do!

Want o hear more from Krissi? Listen to her share more tips and career advice on Sound Waves HERE.