I’m Katy, and the last time I wrote my story for Caring Matters Now, I was 12 years old and had just started at secondary school. Since then, I’ve danced with the English Youth Ballet, competed with my university dance teams, and worked at Camp America. More recently, I’ve worked on a cruise ship and I’m now teaching Physics at a secondary school in Hertfordshire.
I was born with a CMN on the back of my right knee, covering about a third of my leg. When I was 18 months old, it was operated on using CO2 and Ruby lasers. After all the bandages came off, my CMN had grown back, lighter in colour and with fatty lumps on it. In 2019, I made the decision to try and have some of those lumps removed, but they’ve grown back now too.
After secondary school, I studied Physics with Astrophysics at the University of York, graduating in 2018. I spent the next two years working as a fitness instructor on a cruise ship, seeing the world. While I was travelling, I was able to help raise global awareness of Caring Matters Now, running the Instagram account for Ronnie the Bear. Sadly, Ronnie’s journey, and my contract, were cut short in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
My parents have been involved with Caring Matters Now almost since the beginning – I’m the same age as the charity! My Dad became a trustee in 2015, and then in my teenage years, I started to get more involved with Caring Matters Now in my own way. I took part in the first CMN Skydive, completed the Nightrider Cycling Challenge through London, and in 2018 took part in the Hadrian’s Wall Trek, all to raise money for Caring Matters Now.
Over time, I’ve learnt to ignore the strange looks from other people. As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that most people who asked me about my CMN were just curious to find out more. They’d never seen it before, and they just wanted to know what it was. I don’t worry about hiding my CMN, because I’ve come to accept that it’s not my fault that other people are curious about it, but it’s up to me to be understanding of that and help them to learn about it.
Developing that acceptance and understanding helped me get to where I am today. I’d like to think I’m confident in who I am, and my CMN is part of that. I’ve reached a point in my life where I feel ready to give back to Caring Matters Now. I hope I’ll be able to do this by supporting more young people develop their confidence and acceptance of their CMN, helping them to navigate any challenges that life throws at them as they become a fully-fledged adult – something I’m not sure I’ll ever be but I’m told I am!
I’m so thrilled and honoured that I’ve been given the opportunity to join the adult support team. If you would like any support or would just like to have a chat, I’m here to listen!