Emma nursed for ten years when a sudden diagnosis of thyroid cancer stopped her in her tracks and meant she was unable to work for months on end.
But her illness and treatment were not her only worries, she was also left concerned about her finances.
Diagnosed in March 2017, Emma underwent surgery and radioiodine treatment but after six months her sick pay dropped by half.
“When you have a mortgage and bills to pay that’s quite daunting,” recalls 39-year-old Emma who qualified in 2008 and is now a clinical nurse educator at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
It was tough, but she sought help.
“I contacted the Royal College of Nursing and they said I might be eligible for a small grant from them and when they sent the forms through there was also some information about Cavell Nurses’ Trust.
“It was very simple. I just filled in a form and Cavell Nurses’ Trust got back to me straight away. They awarded me a grant which was really amazing!
“At that time, I was still quite poorly and it meant that I didn’t have to face returning to work when I wasn’t well enough. This help meant I didn’t have the same financial pressures and it meant I had time to make a proper recovery.”
Just before Christmas 2017 Emma, who has specialised in acute respiratory care, intensive care and hyperbarics, returned to her full-time job.
“I’ve still got a way to go but I’m back at work and people tell me I look really well which is lovely."
"It’s hard to put into words what makes nursing so special but I just really love the fact I am giving back to people."
Emma had great support from her family but says it wasn’t easy admitting she needed financial help. But a card from Cavell Nurses’ Trust reassured her.
“I received a hand-written card from Cavell Nurses’ Trust and it said ‘Well done for being brave and asking for help’ which I thought was really lovely. It really touched me because it’s not easy to ask.”