"When I was a teenager, I was heavily into performance arts. I wanted to act and direct and studied hard to get good grades and did well in my theatre group.
"I’ve only seen my mum cry twice in my life, so when she broke down when she found out I was diagnosed it was really upsetting to see. I was also devastated because as an aspiring actress my face was the worst place I could get cancer. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to be an actress anymore because I looked unusual and no one would hire me.
I had my surgery in May 2017 and I was very self-conscious of how I looked afterwards as my cheek was still very swollen. I was told that I needed to wait more than a year to have further surgery, as everything needed time to repair itself.
"A little boy cried when he saw me and said, ‘what’s that?’ I adore kids so to have one afraid of me was upsetting. People would stare at me in the street and even people who had known me since I was born were uncomfortable looking me in the eye.
"It wasn’t until I went on a few residentials in 2018 that things started to turn around. I went to Teenage Cancer Trust’s Find Your Sense of Tumour event, I went on the Ellen MacArthur sailing trip and the CLIC Sargent music residential and tour. It was so liberating going on all these trips because no one asked inappropriate questions about my face, everyone was kind and caring and most of all I felt accepted regardless of what I looked like.
"My confidence has grown so much, and it made those closest to me proud because they had seen how far I’ve come. I’ve decided I’m not going to put my dream of being an actress on hold. I think everything happens for a reason and I want to inspire other people to continue doing what they love even if they face adversity."
"I’ve found a new identity now, and I’m just trying to find a new version of myself who’s stronger and more independent."