Meet one of our fundraising superheroes

In our latest blog, Shine volunteer Conor meets Charlotte – a Shine member who ran the Royal Parks half-marathon to raise money for Shine in 2019. 

In January 2017, Charlotte Rowe, who was an NHS graduate trainee at the time, was hit with some shocking news. Symptom-free, fit and healthy, except for feeling “a bit lumpy”, she was informed that she had Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She had to leave her course immediately to undergo four months of ABVD chemotherapy and move back home with her parents in Wales. Fast forward to the present day: we met up in London so I could ask her about what it was like to run the Royal Parks Half-Marathon for Shine Cancer Support, raising more than £1,500 in the process.

Charlotte RPH

Royal Parks Half Marathon runner Charlotte

I met Charlotte at Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Avenue, a movie theatre at heart, but with a comfy upstairs bar area where young and older types come to work on their startups and chat purposefully. Charlotte’s been a friend of mine for the past year and she agreed to meet and talk about what it was like being an unenthusiastic runner yet wanting to challenge herself in a new way for a charity that grew to mean a great deal to her.

“I used to play a bit of netball when I was at uni and I had started running a bit more before I was diagnosed. I was never particularly fit but I was always trying stuff,” she said. All exercise  went out the window once treatment started, though. She was reacting well to the medication and drugs, but had a reasonable fear that doing any form of strenuous outdoor activity would lead to an infection or mess up the good thing she had going. In the process, she gained a stone and became a “couch potato”.

“I was constantly scared I was going to lose my appetite so I just ate every meal like it was my last meal, scared my taste buds would go. And I was eating everything I liked the taste of, worried I’ll never taste again (a common side effect of chemotherapy). Basically, I just lived a very nice life, actually,” she said wryly.

Fortunately, Charlotte was told that she was responding fully halfway through her course of chemotherapy. She then moved back down to London and started to work again. Originally hearing of the Royal Parks half-marathon through Shine, she sent a message to a number of her friends asking if they would do it, not actually considering doing it herself – until one responded by saying that she’d run it, but only if Charlotte did, too. (It was March, 2018).

“I couldn’t really think of a decent enough reason not to do it. My aim was to finish in under three hours, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing. I really enjoyed having a bit of routine and training.”

Charlotte managed to get under the time she wanted, thanks to a new-found ability to power-walk.

“I felt there were other people who were around my standard on the day of the event. I didn’t feel at the back. I ran a third of it probably, but actually learned that I’m really good at walking quickly.

“The half-marathon confirmed to me that my fitness was getting much better post-treatment and I then ended up starting playing netball again last January, playing every single Tuesday until the beginning of August.”

More of a team sport kind of person, Charlotte admits that she was probably a little deluded about some of the preparation that goes into a half-marathon. “I quite liked being able to talk about it, feeling like I was proving something to myself and letting my friends know that I’m normal again.”

Once Charlotte decided to submit her application for the race, at no point did she think she was never going to do the race. For her, raising the money for Shine was very important. “I did not meet a single person during treatment who was my age. I was the youngest on my chemo bay unit by at least 25 years. I was living on my own, having been through quite a traumatic experience and as soon as I went to my first Shine event, it unlocked a bit of my brain, as if this was more normal, this was fine.”

Nearing the end of her Earl Grey tea, Charlotte went on to describe how Shine continues to help her to move forward, saying that she was very proud to run for the charity. “I could never see myself doing it had I not been ill. You’d think if you hadn’t been ill then you’d do more stuff, but it wasn’t until I felt I had reason to do it.”

What is Charlotte’s advice to anyone considering doing a half or full marathon?

“Given the two extremes, when you think of long-distance running, you’re either Mo Farah or the man in the astronaut suit at the back, running as a joke,” she said. “They deliberately set their races up for dealing with everyone in the middle. I was worried about being left at the back, but they’re very accessible for people.”

If you would like to donate to any of the people running the Royal Parks Half-Marathon for Shine this year taking place on Sunday, October 13, you can do so using any of the following links and see their story:

Shane Simpson –

Kat Simpson:

Simon Walters:

Pete Grosse:

Diego Delgado:

If you’d like to find out more about how you can support Shine’s work, please drop us a line at, or view challenges here.

Can you support our #Give4Shine campaign on Giving Tuesday?

At Shine Cancer Support, we run 13 networks across the UK to support young adults with cancer. These Networks are the core of our support and always have been; they provide a unique way for young adults with cancer to meet others who have had similar experiences. This year, on Giving Tuesday, we’re asking for your help to raise £3,000 to keep these Networks going.

There are many ways that you can support our #Give4Shine campaign. Read on to get involved and help us to reach more young adults with cancer than ever before! ______________________________________________________________

If Shine is about one thing, it’s about community.  

We started Shine 10 years ago because we felt isolated and alone as young adults with cancer, and we wanted to change that. We began as a small group meeting together for coffee in Dorset. In 2012, we started our Shine London Network, bringing together capital-based young adults for meet ups and drinks, and we quickly spread to the Midlands, Newcastle, Cardiff and beyond!


Ceinwen & Emma, Shine’s founders

While we’ve grown a lot, and developed new ways of supporting young adults with cancer (do check out our website for details of upcoming events!), the one thing that has stayed the same is our belief in the power of being surrounded by people who just get it – other young adults who know what it’s like to be the youngest person in the waiting room, who wonder how they’ll ever find the energy to get back to work, and who live with the uncertainty that a life-threatening illness brings to every part of life.

More than anything, we’re proud that we’ve been able to bring people from across the UK together to share their experiences, chat, and – very importantly – laugh.  Run by our volunteers (all of whom have had cancer themselves), we know that our Shine Networks make a huge difference: 97% of people who have attended a Shine event in 2018 say it’s made them feel more supported and less isolated as a young adult with cancer.

The best thing about Shine_ Knowing that I_m not alone, and that there are people my age who understand the way I feel. – JB, Shine member

This Giving Tuesday, we’re trying to raise £3,000 enough money to support our Shine Network meet-ups for a year. It’s the biggest one-day goal that we’ve ever set and there are a bunch of different ways you can help us!

  • Donate: Every little bit really does help and you don’t need to donate hundreds to make a difference!  If you’re able to support us with a donation, £10 would be very, very appreciated – simply text “TUES10 £10” to 70070.
  • Blog: Can you write a blog post to highlight how your peers with cancer – your cancer crew, if you will – help you? If you’ve been to a Shine meet-up, you could write about how our local Shine Network events help, what you’ve enjoyed about them and why you’d recommend them to others. Or anything else that shows the value of being with people who understand! We’re asking each blogger to inspire 10 readers to donate £10 – a total of £100, enough to support the activities of five of our local Shine Networks for one month. Get in touch at or via our website and we can send you further details.
  • Share: We’re asking as many people as possible to share on social media how Shine Networks support young adults with cancer. You can aim simply to raise awareness (which we need!) or your posts can also be aimed at inspiring your friends and family to donate £10 towards our goal.

    IMG_8402 (1)

    Shine members on a 2018 Great Escape weekend

Download our images below (just right click and “save as”) and you can share them with your own comment about how Shine has helped you or why you’re supporting us.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to use the hashtag #GIVE4Shine!

Thank you!!


Save & share these images (or your own!):

If you’d rather make a direct donation, you can do so here

breast cancer

Life – but not as you knew it: Living the dream

In September 2017, a group of intrepid climbers will make their way up Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro while raising money for Shine. One of those making the journey is Rosie Hellawell, a member of Shine’s Dorset Network. Rosie currently blogging her way through cancer treatment (and the alphabet) and we’re delighted she’s written a blog for us about how she’s working to realise her dream of climbing the world’s tallest free-standing mountain once she’s finished treatment.  Take a read, share, and let us know what you think. And if you’d like to donate to Rosie’s trip, please check out her fundraising page here.

Guest blogger Rosie Hellawell

DREAMS: Transforming Desires to Reality Everyday through Aspiration, Motivation and scary Statistics!


Since receiving my breast cancer diagnoses in June of this year I wouldn’t say that my long term desires have massively changed. I would still like to complete my degree, find a nice guy, travel the world, buy a house….that kind of thing. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I am hoping that cancer is just a little blip in obtaining those goals and that it is actually teaching me a lot and opening up new experiences that will be useful in the future.


However, I cannot escape the reality that my mortality has massively been called into question. For the first time I feel first-hand how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away. I see members of support groups that I am part of, incl

NED: No Evidence of Disease

uding Shine, being taken too early on an all too regular basis. So, in the spirit of coping with reality, I must now add ‘living for a reasonable amount of time’ to my list of desires. Unfortunately, as we all know there is no cure for cancer but to become a ‘Neddy’ (to have ‘no evidence of disease’) is now also up there with the best of the rest of my desires.


There is no getting past it: living with cancer on a daily basis is no walk in the park. But having the support of others in my age range who are dealing with similar situations to me has proven invaluable.

A lot of control is taken away by this hideous disease but I choose to retain what control I do have by taking actions towards my future. This has been anything from getting involved with different support groups, trying new sports, fundraising, blogging and becoming an ambassador for awareness charities. But on a particularly overwhelming day it can mean simply writing a meal plan and a shopping list. I find everything is easier when broken down into smaller chunks. By doing that shopping and cooking that meal and freezing up portions for future rubbish days, I am once again back in the driving seat.


Aspiration is defined as ‘a hope of achieving something’ or finding the inner strength to achieve. As a wise man once said, (well actually it was Dave Pickles in his webinar last week!):


Yes, I have just stolen his quote but it makes perfect sense! This picture speaks a thousand words to me. I refuse to let worries of failing hold me back. If I don’t try, I will never know what I am capable of and the last thing I want to do is look back at all the things that could have been if only I hadn’t let fear get the better of me. I would much rather look back at all the amazing things that I did manage to achieve.


The opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Shine Cancer Support has come at the perfect time for me and has given me a focus to get me through my treatment and out beyond the other side. Not only will the trek itself be a huge physical and mental challenge, the fundraising and training will include targets to be met along the way. This will help with my recovery and will give me back some more of that lost sense of purpose and control.


A cancer diagnoses is a pretty big motivation tool to get me off my backside and out of my comfort zone, saying ‘yes’ and taking on all the new and exciting opportunities that come my way. The fact that I can raise money for such an awesome charity at the same time is just the icing on the cake. It means that young people diagnosed with cancer in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s will also be able to feel the full force of fellowship and shared experiences.


Scary statistics do definitely help to motivate me. My current ‘favourite’ is that I have 43% chance of not being here in 5 years’ time. I discovered this at 3am one morning when Googling (never a good idea when experiencing steroid-induced insomnia). While I realise that some stats should be taken with a pinch of salt and that, compared to some people, I should be grateful for this figure, the stats also serve the purpose of reminding me that life is precious and none of us know how long we have left. Life can all too often be too short, so I for one am going to go out there and grab every opportunity that comes my way…. what better way to start than up the very aptly named Shiny ‘Mountain of Light’?!

Rosie is a mature social work student who lives in Bournemouth. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016 and is currently undergoing treatment.

Rosie regularly blogs about her life with cancer here and her fundraising page for the Kilimanjaro trek next year can be found here.

Lin & Andy Trek 81 miles for Shine!

We are happy to announce that Shine member Lin, along with her husband Andy, have raised a whopping £1040 for Shine following an 81 mile trek along the South West Coast Path this summer.

Lin was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in December 2008 and faced 6 months of gruelling treatments including surgery and radiotherapy.  Following the successful treatments, Lin now has a 95% chance of the cancer not returning.

She heard about Shine Cancer Support during a Macmillan training course and has since been an active member. As well as being supported herself, Lin has been inspired to help others going through similar experiences.

Having already planned and run two successful fundraising pamper days, raising nearly £2000 for Shine, Lin and her husband Andy decided to take on the challenge of this 81 mile trek from Beer in Devon to Poole in Dorset.

Lin says “Shine makes a difference because it is not just a support group. It is a social experience where you can just have a laugh and meet other cancer patients. It is not all doom and gloom no matter what your prognosis.”

Talking about the trek, Lin says “My husband and I have been discussing doing this trek for a few years and we  finally organised it! It is exciting to use the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Shine at the same time.

“We were soaked through on a few days but dried off in the end, there were so many hills as well but we are so pleased to have done it!”

We would like to say a massive well done and thank you to Lin and Andy for their huge achievement!

Thank you!




If you would like to raise money for Shine, you can easily create online sponsorship pages using 

Hello world! Our history!

Hi everyone and welcome to our new blog!

We plan to use this blog to share with you everything we get up to….our events and activities and possibly our random thoughts too!

We would love it if you would share the link and spread a little Shine…

Thank you!

In this post, we have added a lot of our historic events and activities so it is a bit of a long one!

Christmas Party 2011
Another great night out at the Orchid Hotel in Bournemouth, lovely dinner and then some cheesy disco dancing! perfect….
3rd Anniversary Party & Fundraiser
Friday 28th October 2011
Our Halloween themed party was a great success….Lots of effort went into some amazing costumes and a great time was had by everyone!
Summer Holiday 26th-29th August 2011
The summer camping trip with a twist was great fun with unexpectedly good weather! The twist is that we had a wonderful converted barn which meant that we had bad weather back up and that some of our members could sleep in a real bed!
The location was great, just on the clifftop at Swanage so great views and access to the beach and a swimming pool.
38 of our members and families came along for the team BBQ on the Saturday night and the rest of the weekend was a mixture of relaxation and fun, spending time together or off out with the family!
Ferndown Relay for Life 16th-17th July 2011
The Shine team did not let the weather stop them for this 24 hour relay event! We raised over £1000 for Cancer Research UK and had great fun doing it too!
Fundraising Raffle! 22nd June 2011
Frans Fundraising party was a great success, raising over £500 for Shine – thanks Fran xx

Pamper Day 29th May 2011

The pamper day on 29th May 2011 was an amazing success with lots of people having some amazing treats.Thank you so much to all of the therapists that gave their time for free and to the Shine team that helped on the day and made amazing cakes.Special thanks must go to Lin for organising it all! wow!!

The final total for funds raised is now over £1000! Thank you

Shine Christmas Party
Shine members and their partners or family members enjoyed a Christmas Dinner and Disco in early December, a secret santa present for everyone and a bit of cheesy disco dancing made for a great night!
23rd Oct 2010 2nd Anniversary
The Shine anniversary party was a great success, raising money and having a great time! The evening was hosted by breakfast DJs from ThunderFM Jay & Faye. They made sure tha party went with a bang and the silent auction was a great success thanks to their energy and competition!
Beach/Park Walking Club Apr – Oct 2010
TCamping Weekend 6th & 7th August 2010
The camping trip was an amazing experience despite a bit of unsettled weather, the rainbows were worth it!
It was a very relaxing weekend with plenty of time to have fun, chat and chill out…
The campfires were great fun and we will definitely be doing it again next year….do you want to come?
Relay for Life 17th & 18th July 2010
The Shine teams raised just over £4000 for Cancer Research UK – Thank you all for your support.
The Ferndown Relay for Life is a 24 hour relay which means that at least one
member of your team should be on the track at any point during the 24 hours.
Pink Party – October 24th 2009
Beach Walks April – October(ish)2009
The Shine Beach Walking Club started in April. A tailor made, no pressure, evening
stroll along the (flat) promenade from Durley Chine to Poole and back (about 5k)
May & June 2009
Race for life
Well done to everyone who took part in Race for Life events this year.
Take a look at the photos below and join our facebook group to see more.
Just log in to your facebook account and search ‘shinecancersupport’ (no gaps)
or email us for an invitation.
You can still sponsor us online:
10th May 2009 Poole Park
21st June 2009 Bournemouth Pier
28th June 2009 Poole Park Race for Life