Published: 00:01, 06 November 2017
As a personal fitness trainer who works out almost every day, Emily Hayward appears to be a picture of good health.
Except everything is not as it seems, because for almost seven years she has been fighting a cancer which has affected her body.
And it all started with a mole on her calf that turned out to be a potentially deadly melanoma.
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Emily, 24, from Canterbury, who holds classes at the King’s School Recreation Centre in the city, said: “I don’t know how I got it. I’m not into sunbathing or sunbeds.
"I’m a massive tomboy and I guess I was just unlucky.
“But the last few years have been really tough and I’m not through it yet.”
WATCH: One of Emily's video blogs about living with cancer
Emily believes her dedication to training, including strength conditioning and a healthy diet, is helping her fight the disease.
She has been video blogging about her battle on YouTube for several years to inspire others fighting the disease, and has almost 900 subscribers to her channel.
And now her story was picked up and screened as part of Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer series.
She said: “Just uploading a video is like emptying out my worries – taking some of my anxieties away.
“I have been told the Channel 4 screening about my vlogging and story has touched a lot of people.
"I just want to let people know what it’s like to fight cancer and how I deal with it.”
Emily, who lives in Canterbury, was a sixth-former at the Chaucer Technology School when first diagnosed with cancer, which has put her through a physical and emotional wringer.
Her troubles began after surgeons at the Kent and Canterbury operated to removed the mole on her calf, which was found to be cancerous.
Doctors referred her to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where she underwent further surgery to remove a larger area around the mole.
She then enjoyed two years clear of the disease. But in 2013 a scan revealed the bombshell news that she had cancer in the lymph nodes in her groin.
"I'm just a girl battling a life-threatening disease and trying not to let it kill me" - Emily Hayward
Emily said: “I was a personal trainer at the time but I had to quit my job because of the further surgery.
"I guess it was the worst part of my journey. They took out the nodes and after that I felt so well for another two years and thought I had beaten it.
“But I also knew there was a chance the cancer would return, and a scan in 2015 revealed it had, this time in my liver, lung and my brain.
“But one of the worst results of that is having to give up my driving licence, which I hated.”
Emily has endured gruelling bouts of radiotherapy and drug treatment. Doctors have decided that a special kind of new immunotherapy is working best.
But only two weeks ago she had to have further surgery to remove a lump from her chest.
Emily says her partner Aisha, who works for a law firm, is helping her through her ongoing fight: “I really don’t know how I would be battling through this without her, she has been such a huge support to me.
“The cancer does wear me down sometimes and I have my moments, but I am very obsessive about my training regime and diet. I don’t know where I would be without it now.
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