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18th July 2014

Sharon Heginbottom

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“You may think that using the word ‘inspired’ when coping with cancer is an unusual term to use, but when I was diagnosed, back in August 2004, I found that so many things did inspire me.

Once I got over the shock of being told I had lung cancer (me, a 40 year old women, non-smoker, fit, healthy and full of life with so much to live for!) I went straight into battle and turned for inspiration from everyone around me. It was this inspiration that helped me through my cancer.

When I was having chemotherapy, I was in hospital for a week at a time. I was totally inspired by the nurses, consultants, the palliative care team – and even the tea lady. They were always there to keep me going, comfort me, and reassure me even when I never thought I would make another day.

My partner, family and friends inspired me; they were there every step of the way and did not once give up or walk away even when I was having a bad day – and there were plenty of them!

The day I was told that I could have the tumour removed – when initially it was not possible – I was totally inspired by my surgeon who agreed to perform the operation. He was putting his skills to the test and giving me a chance to live.

“Over the years, I have met some wonderful people who have been through the same experience as me, and their stories of bravery and courage were all inspirational too”.

Sharon, living with lung cancer

Meeting other patients inspired me too. Over the years, I have met some wonderful people who have been through the same experience as me, and their stories of bravery and courage were all inspirational too.

So, when things are getting me down, I think of all the things that have inspired me and remind myself of this wonderful saying:

‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift’.

I became a Patient Trustee with Roy Castle Lung Castle Foundation shortly after completing my treatment. Having been a patient gives me a real insight into the needs of people affected by lung cancer, and being a trustee gives me the opportunity to highlight the issues that are most important to patients.

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to speak out about the importance of early detection of lung cancer by talking about my experience at awareness raising events, and sharing my story with the media, giving opinions at cancer-related committee meetings and offering support as an ‘email buddy’ to individuals going through similar treatment patterns to my own.