In August 2017, Ruth Naylor was under enormous amounts of stress. She was a newly single mum to two small children, a high-flyer in corporate banking and was about to embark on a new business venture.
When Ruth became physically ill, she assumed it was from trying to do too much. So she decided to see her doctor for help. However, the doctor was concerned about her symptoms and sent her to the hospital for more tests.
48 hours later, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma - blood cancer. They also found a dinner plate-sized tumour between her heart and lungs.
Ruth recently joined us for our podcast to talk about life after this terrifying diagnosis. This is her story of how she battled cancer and came out on top.
“This is a fight I will win”
When Ruth’s doctor revealed she had cancer, she told herself: “I have two options. I can let this disease devour me or I can stand up and fight.”
Deep down, Ruth knew giving up was never an option. She had so much left to give as a mum and entrepreneur. Choosing to conquer cancer was a no-brainer:
“Whilst I'm a million miles away from being ready, this is a fight I will win.” - @ruthnaylor7
How did Ruth prepare for the battle? She asked the question: “What’s next?” She wanted to know exactly what would improve her chances of survival. Ruth also turned to her nearest and dearest for help.
Juggling Motherhood with the Big C
Ruth’s friends and family have played a huge role in making her recovery easier. Because of their love and support, she has been able to do what she loves most: be a doting mum to her beautiful children.
Ultimately, she says you should never be ashamed to ask for help. Thanks to her loved ones, her children were happy and settled during the most difficult periods of Ruth’s treatment. But she also recognises that not everyone with cancer has a support network. Which lead her to think, how can I support those people?
Sharing her Story to Help Others
Despite being an exceptionally private person, Ruth wanted to be open about her cancer journey. Her goal was to raise awareness and share her treatment highs and lows so others in her position didn't feel alone.
When she first started documenting her journey on Instagram, Ruth had 15 followers. She now has over twenty thousand fans which just goes to show how much her story has positively impacted others.
While it was challenging to share something so personal, Ruth says there wasn't one negative aspect from being so open about her cancer battle. In fact, it has helped her connect with people and charities who have improved her life immeasurably.
Becoming Chair of Manchester Beats Cancer
Manchester Beats Cancer is a charity dedicated to helping those affected by the all-too-common disease. Leon Milns, Adam’s founder, is actively involved in the committee. He regularly attends its events, offers strategic support and gets the rest of the team involved in backing the charity.
Last year, Ruth became Chair for MBC, which was how she and Leon met. Since then she has poured her heart and soul into supporting the charity. Through her new role, Ruth has done a lot of work with Cancer Research UK, sharing her skillset and sparking conversations to keep the fight against cancer raging on:
“Their goal is simple, to save lives through research. Today’s cancer survival rate is 2 in 4 but their aim is to improve this stat to 3 in 4 by 2034. With more than 1 in 3 of us developing cancer at some point in our lives, don’t we have an obligation to do all we can to enable the research needed to make the difference?“
How Can You Get Involved?
Ruth says that anyone can support cancer charities. If you can’t donate, you can still lend your time.
By offering your skills to the cause or creating positive discussions, doors for further life-saving research will open.
In the future, Ruth's focus will be on bringing the cancer discussion to schools, communities and businesses so people can talk openly about their own experiences and spread awareness. If this is something you can do either in your personal life or business, now is the time to take action.
Life After Remission
Ruth’s journey to recovery hasn’t been easy, as her friends, family and Instagram followers will know. It has tested her mentally and physically, with her treatment often making her feel worse than the disease.
But today, she is in remission, and we couldn’t be more delighted for her.
In the end, cancer has given Ruth a whole new perspective on life as she explains in our podcast: “It takes the prospect of facing your own mortality to figure out what matters to you.”
For Ruth, that’s being there for her family and choosing a career path which brings her joy and fulfillment: on top of her charity work, her business venture is back on track and she vows never to return to the corporate world.
Her final piece of parting advice? “Don't take your health for granted. Don't assume you have it all. Love a little bit harder today, because who knows what tomorrow will bring?”
You can listen to the full podcast featuring Ruth’s story here.