Since Move started 7 young people between the ages of 7 & 24 are diagnosed with cancer every single
day and have to face an extremely tough journey. For young people there is so much thrown at them both physically and mentally during their treatment and it doesn’t just stop there. Life goes on after cancer and we want to support young people as much as possible to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle both during and after treatment so they can work towards getting their live’s back on track and look forward to a brighter future.
At MOVE Charity we live by the quote
‘It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain’
MOVE Founder Gemma was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer on July 3rd 2012.
No one can EVER prepare you for this moment in your life….it was never written in the script. On July 3rd 2012 my life took a slight change in direction. I was heading over to the hospital for the results of the operation that was supposed to remove a large bronchi cyst from my neck but that didn’t go quite to plan….. Never did i know my world would be turned upside down and inside out when I walked out of that office.
I was sat in the office with my mum and dad and the doctors face pretty much said it all. Still never in my life at 24 years old would I ever think it was the ‘C’ word…… But then the words I dreaded came straight out of his mouth and it wasn’t the ‘C’ word my boyfriend often uses when he loses at poker …. Right there and then I got told I had Cancer…. Me?when?how?not possible? These were the questions going through my head! I burst into tears and the first thing I thought was that I really do not want my parents, Kirsty and Lew to have to go through this. I still couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what type of cancer it was, whether it was curable or what treatment I had to undergo but suddenly I just remember thinking sod this I can do it, get a grip Gemma! Cancer yeah so, I’ve overcome some tough challenges in my life this is just another hurdle/test that I will overcome. I have no choice. I’ve got way to much Gemma to give to the world for it to be any other way.
I was diagnosed with Berketts Lymphoma…… One get very rare form of lymphoma. It’s Funny how life tests us sometimes. But it chose me, I had to deal with it and get on with it. It was really comforting meeting my lymphoma treatment team at the Leicester royal infirmary and as soon as I sat down and met my consultant and support nurse I knew I was in very good hands. They set things out straight for me…. I understood what was happening to my body and what the treatment process was. We originally thought that my lymphoma was only in my neck however after lots of tests we found that it had indeed spread to my bowel and abdomen! Not the news you really want to hear but the consultants still reassured me that they were going for gold and aiming to cure this thing and I held only every single word of that!
Life is a learning curve;
It took me a while to realize this but during your journey with cancer and going through treatment you learn so much about yourself and the people around you. After I finished treatment it took me a long time to get my head around normality again. How could my life ever be the same again and how could I get back into the ‘real world’.
My perspective and values had changed so much. For me cancer completely put my life into perspective and every day I think about it, still now. How life can be so easily turned upside down or taken away from you! I struggled with that for a long time but the thing that kept me focused and gave my life meaning was running. Not only did it help mentally but running is a form of physical activity and by keeping physically active I was maintaining my strength through treatment and it played a huge part in my recovery.
I studied a degree of sports science at Loughborough University and have always had a passion for physical activity and health. However, I only realized the true importance of physical activity after I’d finished my cancer treatment. Physical activity gave me the focus I needed and kept my body strong to fight the disease.
During my experience with cancer I realized that there was a lack of knowledge and education provided to health care professionals around physiological and psychological benefits of physical activity to young people both during treatment and recovery. People with a chronic illness should not be treated in a one dimensional way. Physical activity can provide so many incredible benefits both physical and psychologically for someone living with cancer. It’s so important we support that person from the very beginning of their Cancer Diagnosis.
Every diagnosis is different and every person diagnosed with cancer needs to be worked with individually. From listening to young people whether they were inactive or active before treatment I feel that there is a strong need for this support and advice and the reason I founded MOVE Charity.