Grace Green, 24, art student, and her mother, Nicola Trotman, 54, a design consultant.
 
Grace
“I was extremely lucky to have a supportive family and friends who never left my side all the way through. “
 
Nicola
“Grace’s strong spirit and resilience was an inspiration, she has taught us all how to live with grace.”
17 February 2016
 
Grace
I am just nearing the end of two and a half years of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia or ALL. 
 
In July 2013, I was 21 and at University, with two jobs to support myself, busy being creative and keeping very fit with a passion for climbing.
 
I became very exhausted over a few weeks, was rushed into the special unit at St George’s where I was to stay until March, and then treatment continued until the first months of 2016. Blood tests showed my cells shooting out in an immature oval shape and chemotherapy started straight away. I suffered very badly from all the side-effects of the drugs and left hospital in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again.
 
I was extremely lucky to have a supportive family and friends who never left my side all the way through. It was a big shock for us all and we fought through it together. I was cared for by the Doctors and specialist nurses on the Ruth Myles ward and day unit who were in another league and just incredible.
 
I have learnt a lot about myself and others through this journey and I want to be able to help others from my experiences.
 
I have always had a positive attitude and outlook on life. I believe this really is key to moving forwards and healing yourself, including your mind.
 
Nicola
Nothing can prepare you for being told your child has cancer, and the Doctors were kind enough to not actually use the word when giving Grace and me the shock of the diagnosis early that Friday morning. 
 
Grace had to be isolated in a room with stringent hygiene procedures, such as not being allowed fresh flowers in her room due to the bacteria that sits on top of the water. She could eat no lettuce - if she fancied eating at all - and only fruit if it was peeled. We had to wear a plastic apron to be with her. 
 
Our focus was on rebuilding her and remaining positive in front of her. We made sure she was never alone during her treatment and procedures and that her environment supported her medical care.  We worked our way through the storm together and would find reason by sharing our knowledge and supporting others.  
  
Despite the pain of the regular lumbar punctures, the regular samples of bone being taken out of her pelvis and all the other dreadful side-effects of her medication, she never once complained, she only focused on what was going well and was always concerned for everyone else around her. And she still maintained her uncanny knack of always being elegant and stylish. Grace’s strong spirit and resilience was an inspiration, she taught us all how to live with grace.