About us News Postcards from Trekstock's Self-Isolation Nation: Tawanda We know that lots of Trekstock's community of young adults living with and beyond cancer are currently strictly self-isolating during these difficult times with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. We've asked our community to share their tips and plans to stay positive and sane during these extraordinary times. Next up, it's Tawanda. I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour (Ependymoma) in 2014 exactly 2 weeks before I was meant to start university. Imagine all my bags packed, student accommodation booked, ready to move out and start an adventure of a lifetime. To then find out that I had a brain tumour and had to immediately have surgery which meant that I could not go to university. This was a very difficult time. I had to defer my first year to give myself time to recover from 2 major brain surgeries and radiotherapy. I managed to go to uni a year later but 2 years into uni I had to defer again for treatment it was a very long and tiring 5 years in and out of university but I finally graduated in 2019. My plan for 2020 was to carry on with treatment, recover, get involved with charities that do work that I am passionate about and to go on many holidays. The year had started off as planned. I went to Malta on holiday, I did voluntary work, went to the gym twice a week, I had even started to look at placements in hospitals. I had an amazing birthday graduation party with over 200 guests in attendance and I started my business,'Rare and Loved.' Then all of a sudden the government gradually announced that we were in a pandemic and the next thing we were in lockdown, everything closed! When having a bad day what helped me was going to the gym, meeting up with friends and spending quality time with my family. So to have that taken away from me because of the lockdown I did not know how I would cope and that made me anxious. The news did not help because they kept announcing that people like me with underlying health issues were high risk and I was on chemotherapy too. I live with my mum, younger sister, aunty and little cousin who is 1 year old. We made a family decision to be strict with our isolation which meant that even for food shopping we would not go out. We have been doing online shopping, our church Hillsong Church brings food for us, the NHS care helps with weekly essentials too as well as family and friends. It has really taken a number of people to help us stay in a good supply of what we need. I have also managed by focusing on my business. I signed up to business and leadership online workshops. When the lockdown started all I had was a logo but I have worked hard on my business that I now have suppliers for merchandise, products ready to ship to customers and my website which I created myself with the help of my uncle who is a website designer (I have never created a website before.) It is now on all social media and my business is up and running. This was all done during lockdown. My hope is that my brand 'Rare and Loved' speaks to people who are fighting some kind of battle and remind them that even if they might feel different, rare, special and going through what could be the toughest time of their life they are still 'Loved.' I have also connected with people supporting those that have or are going through these difficult times. I am hoping to also eventually start an online support group. I found something I am passionate about and that is where I am investing most of my time. We also regularly talk as a family and check in on each other see how we are coping mentally. Having a routine has also helped. My typical day starts with a lay in bed followed by breakfast and exercise. Then attending webinars or workshops, then I spend the rest of my day working on Rare and Loved. During my breaks, I take my cousin out for walks in the garden. The beginning of lockdown was very difficult and filled with many questions and fear of the unknown. Overall I have had to focus on the positives in my life. I am very blessed and grateful to still be alive, be with my family, be a graduate, be a business owner, to have food and shelter and so much energy in me to continue my battle with cancer. I am Rare and Loved!