In 2011, aged 21 years old, Charlotte was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare cancer of the bone and soft tissue. A year later she was given the all clear, and went on to finish her degree and become an ambassador for Teenage Cancer Trust, speaking at events, telling her story and helping raise awareness of the charity. By her side throughout all of this was her partner James, and after being together for 8 years, this summer they tied the knot.
"James and I have known each other our whole lives as our families are friends...
but it was when James started sixth form at the high school I attended when our close friendship began. We've been together for 8 years, and on 27 August this year we got married, surrounded by our family and friends.
We've been through an awful lot together, he's been by my side from my diagnosis right through to me getting the all clear, graduating, and getting my first job as a solicitor.
When I was going through treatment he was my absolute rock, and gave me a reason to fight every day. He was crucial to my positive mindset, and, inevitably, to my recovery, so being able to spend as much time as possible with him on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit was incredibly important to me. Teenage Cancer Trust were so accommodating of my family, and of James, and when I was put in isolation he was allowed to stay overnight with me.
At the most frightening time of my life, I felt reassured knowing that James had the support of the staff on the unit. They were always there, whether that was to answer questions or to provide a shoulder to cry on. We cannot thank the charity, or the specialist staff on the ward enough, for everything they did for us.
The wedding was a day that we will never forget. We were surrounded by all our loved ones and celebrated into the night. The day started at the Synagogue in Leeds where we had a traditional Jewish ceremony. It was a really special and very emotional start to the day.
I had feared that I would never get the chance to be a bride and so I felt incredibly grateful and overwhelmed when we were pronounced husband and wife.
We then travelled to Harrogate for the celebrations, where our guests enjoyed endless amounts of food and drink. Our family and friends are pretty crazy and by the end of the night the dance floor looked more like a mosh pit than an elegant affair!
Our first dance was ‘How do you keep the music playing’ by Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin. The words are very poignant and have always resonated with James and I.
"We are so lucky to have each other, and don’t want our music to ever stop playing!"
Now we're really keen to progress our careers – mine as a solicitor at Stowe Family Law, and James as a business manager at Stonacre Properties. We're also really looking forward to travelling together.
I found it hard to obtain travel insurance following my diagnosis, which means we've not been out of Europe together. However we have booked to go to the Maldives for our honeymoon. It was our dream destination and we're now counting down the days until we're able to relax in the sun!
Both James and I made very special friendships on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit and I know that our lives have been enriched because of them. Whilst some of the friends we made are no longer with us, they touched our hearts, made us better people for knowing them and we will never forget them.
I will never be able to fully express my gratitude and appreciation for everything that Teenage Cancer Trust did for me, James, and my family.
Being treated on the unit meant that I never felt alone. It gave me a reason to smile at a time when all I wanted to do was cry. To be treated as a person first and a patient second was pivotal to me being able to maintain a sense of normality.
I only hope that one day, every young person with cancer will receive the same support that I was fortunate to have received."