GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Carolina What cancer were you diagnosed with? Acute Myeloid Leukaemia What age were you diagnosed? 30 What has helped you to thrive? Since I got in touch with Trekstock and went to their first event I felt like a normal person again. They made me feel like I was no longer the weird odd one that got cancer while being on the prime of her life and I finally managed to meet other young adults like me with whom I could relate on our cancer experience. So I am eternally grateful for finding Trekstock and all the people involved within such amazing organisation, as all of them and the activities and support given has been an essential part of my recovery. Now I feel that I am pretty much back to normal, and wiser than before, as Trekstock really invest in us learning about our bodies and minds massively and while learning it also provide us with the opportunity and a safe space to meet new people from which I have made new amazing friends and was lucky enough to meet great young adults with cancer with very inspiring stories. Thank you very much Trekstock! Carolina's Story On a regular day of July back in 2017, I was told I needed to get a bone marrow puncture as a last measure to understand what was happening to my neutrophils as they were 0. All of this came to me as a massive surprise and to be honest, not even understanding what neutrophils were and why they were so important for my body to live, now I understand they are vital for the human body to combat all infections, viruses and bacteria that our body comes across in a daily basis. The fact that I didn’t have neutrophils was discovered after I went to my GP for a sore throat after insisting that I did not find normal that I had a sore throat after having just finished a course of antibiotics for a minor tonsillitis. Following my insistence, the GP agreed to send a blood test to rule out glandular fever, as he could not see anything wrong with my throat as after he examined me, he said it was looking nice and clean and not even swollen. After the blood tests I was called back to the GP and told I needed to be admitted at the hospital immediately and get isolated because I was neutropenic and further investigations were needed to determine why I did not have any white bloods cells in my body, which meant I was at massive risk of catching infections. After one hour of being admitted at the hospital my sore throat was gone and I felt perfectly fine and was quite confused, why if they had fixed my sore throat was I asked to remain in the hospital and not allowed out of my room? Well, after that all went down hill, 9 days later I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Just 7 months before, I had turn 30 and at that point, I thought I was the healthiest I have ever been in my life and had no pains or aches and felt absolutely great, but if it wasn’t for that mere sore throat, that silent killer inside my blood could have easily finished with my life without me even realising, as I was completely asymptomatic. I had to undergo 4 rounds of inpatient high-dose intensive chemotherapy which lasted between 5 to 14 days each and a Bone Marrow Transplant from an unknown donor, to literally, save my life. I will always be grateful for the amazing care that I‘ve received and continue to receive from all and every part of the NHS, I’m also grateful with DKMS and Anthony Nolan for finding an unrelated donor around the world for me and to my donor for her kindness and awesome act of humanity by sharing her bone marrow cells with me and that way giving me a second chance in this beautiful world to continue living. After I finished my main chemotherapy treatment I had to get a lot of physiotherapy to help me recover all the strength that I lost during my treatment and to improve the biggest side effect I was left with that was fatigue. Thankfully, during the physio sessions I met Joelle, an amazing yoga teacher within the Cancer Centre, who told me about Trekstock a charity that is dedicated to support young adults in their 20s and 30s and one of the things they do is to help these young adults, like me, to get back on their feet after cancer has stopped us on our tracks.