How my experience with cancer inspired me to start Amala Curations
Today is World Cancer Day - a day to raise awareness, promote cancer research and global access to cancer treatment for all.
Cancer is something that touches so many of us in one way or another. Whether it's us, our family, our friends or someone in our network; most likely we all know someone who has experienced cancer in some way.
I'm a cancer survivor, and this photo was taken when I was 24, in 2013, a year after my diagnosis. I had just run 5km for cancer research - something which I would have thought impossible just a few months prior.
I hope that my story can raise awareness of cancer in young adults, and inspire others who may be going through a similar journey.
I was 21; recently graduated from Cambridge University, and was about to start my graduate scheme with KPMG.
I had been feeling tired for a few months and had a lump in my neck which the GP kept telling me was a thyroid problem. But as the lump kept getting bigger, my father (who is a doctor) could tell that something wasn’t quite right; he pushed for more tests and I was diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma).
It was honestly the last thing I ever thought would happen to me, especially at that age. I still remember the aftermath of the diagnosis, my life was being turned upside down. I had to postpone my graduate scheme, tell my friends I wouldn’t be moving in with them, and brace myself for the fact that I’d be having chemotherapy for the next 6 months.
I spent the next year with my parents, who looked after me while I went through treatment and I honestly couldn’t have done it without them.
I had a lot of time to think which helped me to put things into perspective. I learnt, at that young age:
· There are only a few people in this world who will really be there for you during hard times; so value those people and show them how much they really mean to you
· Working hard is great, but not to the extent that it makes you ill – what’s the point of having money/career success if you’re too ill to enjoy it?
· Life’s too short to not do the things you love and enjoy every day; because you never know what could happen tomorrow
I was lucky to make a full recovery and be able to return to my job & life the following year. But those 3 lessons have always stuck with me. And that’s what has given me the push to start my own business.
Over the last few years, although I enjoyed my job, I found that my creative side was calling to me. I love creating beautiful and luxurious gifts, and I kept reminding myself, life is too short to not do what you love!
At the same time, leaving a stable job & career in Finance to pursue a creative dream is scary! So it took me a bit of time to pluck up the courage, but I finally took the leap back in January & left my job to start Amala Curations.
So here I am, a few months on, with a luxury gifting business which incorporates my love of natural products which I developed after experiencing cancer.
And I’m so much happier! I wake up every day with a true sense of purpose, and I feel comfortable in myself that I’m doing something I enjoy.
When I look back at that 21 year old who was diagnosed with cancer and where I am now, 10 years on, I feel proud of everything that I’ve achieved.
For anyone in need of motivation today if you’re going through a hard time – things will improve! And from every bad experience, you can learn something that can change your life for the better.
If you're going through your own cancer journey, please do reach out to me, I would love to help in any way that I can.