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My Story - by Suki Gallagher

My Story - by Suki Gallagher

I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer when I was 29. It was discovered following a routine smear 6 months after I gave birth to my first baby.

Within 3 months of that diagnosis I was in hospital fighting for my life after having a full hysterectomy. The scary part was that if I had not had that standard checkup it would have been too late and I would not be here today. Cancer was not the end of my life in 1993 – but it was the start of a different one. My values changed; I wanted control of my own destiny, I craved information aboutwhat was going to happen to me which was not easy to find, but most of all… I learnt to value time.

With emotions blitzing through my mind, my inspiration, Charlee my baby, gave me the will to live. I could not let her down; the guilt, the anger, the pain of not being there for her was eating away inside me. She was my reason to fight, I had to win the battle and failure was not an option. Charlee is 19 years old now and a day does not go by without me appreciating just how lucky I am to be here.

For 7 years after my operation I could not talk about what had happened to me; all of that emotion, that pain locked up in the corners of my mind. Not able to come to terms with the ‘what might have been’. Some days were so hard. Seeing my baby grow up, appreciating every step and knowing that life could have been so different; my child without her Mum, and my Mum without her child. I made the decision that when I could, when I felt strong enough, I would ‘give something back’, to try and make things a little easier for those who had to walk the same path as me.

This is the reason I joined the Development Board for the UCLH Cancer Centre Appeal, and if my small contribution helps in the future to keep families together for longer, then my own experience will have been worthwhile.