Can­cer stu­dent thanks char­ity with cash call

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JOSH JACKMAN

SPAN­ISH AND lin­guis­tics stu­dent Nathalie Holt, 21, felt scared af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin lym­phoma two months ago — “you’d be stupid if you weren’t. But you’ve got to get through it, be­cause if you don’t you’re not go­ing to help any­one.”

And in thanks for the care she has re­ceived from the Teenage Can­cer Trust (TCT) at the Queen’s Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Not­ting­ham, Radlett-born Ms Holt has helped to raise more than £6,000 for the char­ity from an on­line cam­paign.

“It’s nice to do some­thing so that when you’re stuck in bed you know you’re help­ing other peo­ple.” Fur­ther funds have been raised from her fa­ther, brother and boyfriend shav­ing their heads.

“The peo­ple who work there are in­cred­i­ble,” she said of the TCT. “They all know who you are and say ‘hi’ to you. Ev­ery­one goes the ex­tra mile and that makes a big dif­fer­ence.

“They have a co-or­di­na­tor who or­gan­ises so­cial events and there are mas­sages, yoga, Pi­lates, and a per­son who helps you with fi­nances and ca­reer ad­vice.

“There’s also a huge space out­doors, which is nice, and you can get chemo­ther­apy on the couch watch­ing TV rather than in a den­tist’s chair. When I s t a y e d t here i t didn’t feel like I was in a hos­pi­tal, just in nice sur­round­ings.”

Speak­ing to other young pa­tients had “helped loads”, added the Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity stu­dent.

“I t c an f eel iso­lat­ing hav­ing Hodgkin’s, es­pe­cially as it’s some­thing not as­so­ci­ated with my age group, so it’s good that I can talk to peo­ple who have had it.”

Ms Holt has also do­nated nine inches of her hair to the Lit­tle Princess Trust, a char­ity pro­vid­ing wigs for can­cer pa­tients.

“I’ve al­ways had long hair and I knew I was go­ing to lose it [be­cause of chemo­ther­apy] but I think that for a child, hair would be way more trau­matic to lose. If I could help some­one out along the way I thought I might as well.”

Hav­ing just fin­ished her sec­ond cy­cle of chemo­ther­apy, she said “there are loads of pos­i­tives which come out of a life-chang­ing sit­u­a­tion. You know who’s there for you.

“It’s really im­por­tant to keep your sense of hu­mour and sur­round your­self with pos­i­tiv­ity be­cause your men­tal state is nearly as im­por­tant as your phys­i­cal state.”

She has re­tained her sense of hu­mour, jok­ing that while it was “lovely” that the men in her life had sup­port­ively shaved their heads, “it looks really stupid when we’re walk­ing along to­gether”.

Nathalie Holt holds the hair she has do­nated to the Lit­tle Princess Trust

‘It can feel iso­lat­ing hav­ing Hodgkin’s at my age’

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