When Laura told me about her diagnosis, I was devastated. I could not think of a less deserving person. Having never smoked, never drank alcohol (apart from that one time at Oceana in second year 😉 ) Laura was the healthiest person I knew. Her dentist even told her to stop eating so much fruit at 15, at a time when most kids were cramming their bodies with junk food and alcopops. But Laura has never been one to dwell on life’s lemons.
You see, Laura is incredibly special. She touches lives and never does anything by halves. She sees the finish line in the distance but on crossing the line, she continues going for a second lap – not to gloat or boast but simply because giving 100% is simply not enough for her. This blog is that second lap. Instead of taking her diagnosis on board and working on her health and happiness, she has taken ‘Cyril’ and created something so incredibly powerful and inspiring.
I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing Laura for the majority of my life. We met in Turkey and on discovering that we lived one street apart and that Laura was to join my school that September, we quickly became inseparable. Laura describes her first day at school and how I coaxed her out of her Dad’s car. It is not a memory I remember but I do recall countless walks home from the bus stop, endless gossips and teenage giggles. Over the years, we went our separate ways. Laura moved house and I moved school. It wasn’t until our final year at the University of Birmingham that our friendship was cemented, moving into a three bedroom mould-ridden, filth-infested house in Selly Oak – Jewish Princesses, we were not.
It is here that I got a glimpse of this determination that had been developing over the years. One of four siblings, Laura gave as good as she got in that dusty old house in Birmingham, retaliating to practical jokes, putting up a fight and standing her ground. It became clear to me while we were at university that instead of scratching the surface, Laura would dig for Australia. It’s a determination that only being part of a large family can give you and she puts it into everything she does.
On graduating, this strength and determination only grew. Not satisfied with being a teaching assistant, Laura gained experience by working at a school for children with learning difficulties. Not content with a PGCE, Laura threw herself into a Masters and today, Laura heads up the French department in a primary school, revolutionising the way French is taught.
Like all of these huge accomplishments, kicking ‘Cyril’ off her ovary is not enough for her. Laura wants to change the way women view their bodies. She wants us to get talking to our family and find out our medical history, get checked if there is a cause for concern and raise awareness for a type of cancer difficult to diagnose.
The last month has been an emotional rollercoaster, not just for Laura but for all those who love her and it will continue to be tough but for every bad day, let’s make sure there is one person out there getting tested for the BRCA mutation, putting them in control of their destiny.