Ilford cancer survivor urges fellow sufferers to have #NoFilter

Charlotte signing copies of her book

Charlotte signing copies of her book - Credit: Archant

A young cancer survivor from Ilford is sharing self-care tips for fellow cancer sufferers in a series of candid videos.

Charlotte Crowl, 27, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma – a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer – at the age of 17.

After discovering lumps under her arm and neck, the diagnosis was made in December 2007 and Charlotte spent New Year’s Eve in Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

She said: “I knew there was something wrong, but I never thought it would be cancer.

“I was so young at the time and I didn’t look ill at all.”

Now Charlotte is determined to help others battling cancer by sharing one message – stay positive.

Last year, she published her book Cancer: The Hidden Truth which tells the story of her fight against the disease and lifts the veil on its impact on her body and her mind – a topic she believes is too often swept aside.

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Now she is sharing her story online at YouTube as part of a campaign by cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

#NoFilter4Cancer aims to reveal the impact that cancer in young people has on body image, self-care and mental health.

Suffering from the drugs’ side effects, Charlotte’s body went into shutdown in March 2008 leaving her unable to walk or talk.

Ten years later, Charlotte still struggles with her mobility despite consistent training.

She said: “My body hasn’t fully recovered from when it shut down.

“I never know when my mobility will be back to 100 per cent, but it’s something I’m working on each day.”

In one of her videos, Charlotte explains how she struggled with her self-esteem during treatment.

She said: “Before I got cancer I was a confident person. I felt good.

“The side effects of losing my hair and putting on weight because of the steroids and my skin not being as nice as it was, not being able to walk or talk and having to relearn to do those things, they chip away at your confidence.

“But the only person who can help you with that is you… it’s our job to create a positive self-image of ourselves.”

Now, seven years in remission, Charlotte said she is pleased to give back to CLIC Sargent after receiving support from one of the charity’s social workers.

She said:

“I’m really happy to be able to share my experiences and tips with other young people going through what I know is a really tough time.

“CLIC Sargent was an amazing support while I was unwell.

“I had my own CLIC Sargent Social Worker who was absolutely amazing, she always had the time for me, so it’s great to be able to support the charity by recording videos for the new resource, and I hope it helps other young people going through cancer.”

For more information about the campaign, click here.