Potters Bar cancer survivor shares her experience at charity gala
PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:00 18 February 2020
A Potters Bar cancer survivor who spent much of her childhood in hospital, has shared her emotional story at a charity gala event in London.
Krissi Cartwright-Riley spoke at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's event of her experience with acute lymphoblastic and chronic myeloid leukaemia, with which she was diagnosed at the age of four.
Now 23, she said her diagnosis made her grow up quickly, as it reduced her freedom to be immature and carefree and left her struggling to relate to her peers.
With help and support from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, she was introduced to people her own age who had experienced similar illnesses.
She said: "I was 13 when I went sailing with the trust. It had a huge impact on me as for first time I could relate to people my own age.
"At school everyone views you as the 'ill' one. That becomes your personality.
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"To be in a situation with people like you, and who have had the same or similar experience to you, is an amazing thing.
"The trust helped me get rid of the feeling that cancer makes you the odd one out. It gave me a real sense of belonging and the opportunity to talk about things I had bottled up for years after treatment.
"It's why I kept coming back and volunteer now."
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that supports young people aged 8-24 in rebuilding their confidence after cancer. When treatment ends the trust's work begins.
Building stronger relationships with, and making a greater long-term difference to, more young people in recovery from cancer are at the forefront of the charity's 'Better Connections, Bigger Impact - Our Ambitions for 2020-22' that Krissi helped launch at the Royal Society of Medicine on World Cancer Day earlier this month.
After being introduced by Dame Ellen, who founded the charity in 2003, the Ambitions were unveiled by young people who have been supported by the Trust in recovery, parents, Trustees, volunteers and skippers.
Founder of the charity, Dame Ellen MacArthur, opened the evening by celebrating the trust's many achievements before looking forward to the future.
For more information about the Ellen MacArthur Trust, go to ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org.