Posted: by Jo Wednesday, 12 December 2018 @ 15:42
Inspired to be my best
self: role models and heroes
This year, in our quest to step up and be our
best selves, we wanted to talk to truly remarkable women, to find out if they have a mantra for life; and learn what motivates them.
We are absolutely thrilled to talk to Sarah Moss from Breast Cancer Haven for
our series of talks with truly inspiring women. Sarah manages the new Breast Cancer Haven
Centre for the West Midlands, based in Solihull, following a career in cancer
nursing for the NHS. She has helped so many women throughout her career, making
a real difference to people’s lives.
Sarah to tell us a little bit about her background.
Since qualifying as a nurse in 2001, I have
had various roles within cancer care. I have spent most of my working life in
clinical trials and haematology nursing.
The beautiful thing about working in clinical
trials is that you are with the patient from the moment of diagnosis, all the
way through to discharge – present at any clinic visits they have, and a
constant presence when they are admitted to hospital. I would become close to
the patients and their wider support networks, which gave me a huge insight
into what people really want when living with a cancer diagnosis. Although I
would do my best, and give them everything I could – I always felt there was
Always described as ‘alternative’ by my colleagues
and friends, it was no surprise when I became very interested in how holistic
therapies can transform the life of someone dealing with the emotional,
physical and economic changes to their existence. When I changed allegiances
from haematology to breast cancer, I became aware of Breast Cancer Haven, and I
knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do.
In 2016 I heard that they were planning a
centre in the West Midlands, so I started learning as much as I could about the
charity – how many people would benefit, how the therapies they offer could
benefit our patients… After 12 months of hounding, they gave me the Manager’s
role for the West Midlands centre!
about the new Breast Cancer Haven Centre.
It is a truly wonderful thing to see the
change in our visitors from the moment they walk through the door. They know
this is a safe place, they don’t need to pretend to be something they aren’t.
We can help them to get back to who they really are, after a diagnosis has
taken something away.
They receive 10 hours of free one-to-one
therapies, which are personally tailored to them, as well as access to me at
any point. As we are still very new, the programme of groups and classes
available is constantly evolving to meet the needs of our local population.
Since opening in October 2017, we have helped
over 350 people, and have delivered around 1500 hours of therapies.
little about you personally?
I balance full time work with having 3 sons,
2 dogs, a step daughter and grandson. I try to do something every year that scares
me. Last year, white collar boxing, this year, a sky dive. And I practise
mindfulness whenever I get a free moment.
I was very keen to find out from Sarah about
what motivates her, and who she admires.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
I have a few:
Do no harm but take no sh*t.
Live life the way you want to – you only get one.
Tell those you love, that you love them and don’t ever take it for granted that you can.
What do you think
gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
I have always been very
sure of my own mind, so whenever I’ve been told to ‘get back in my box’, it’s
been a bit of a red rag to a bull. I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you
happy, and if you can help others on this mission, then all the better for it. No
one knows my mind better than me, so if they don’t believe in me, it doesn’t
matter, because I believe in myself.
How important have
role models been to you?
Growing up in the
80’s, there was no shortage of strong women saying what they wanted, this had a
profound effect on me and how I approach life. My mother always felt that she
missed opportunities growing up, so I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.
When you were young, who
were your role models or people you truly admired?
The first I remember
was Kylie Minogue in Neighbours. A strong (bolshie) young female who was
comfortable in her own skin, I loved the fact she pushed against the norm and
wasn’t afraid to speak her own mind. I know she was only a character – but she
was a huge influence on a young impressionable girl.
And as your career has
progressed - who inspires you now?
As I have grown into
who I am today, I would say my biggest inspirations have been the people I have
come into contact with as their nurse.
People struggling to
cope with pain, and suffering, and sadness, but still keeping on. One in
particular stands out.
She was a 27 year old
nun, who had a horrible disease and was on an awful chemotherapy regimen. She
was the youngest patient on the ward by at least 15 years, and probably the
sickest. She spent all of her time, when not confined by her own treatment,
sitting by the bedsides of the other patients, making sure they were
comfortable and ensuring they were heard. She always had a smile, and never
complained, even when she was in lots of pain. For me, she was the strongest
and most beautiful soul I have ever had the privilege to meet. I still think of
her often even 17 years on, and I thank her for inspiring me to always try and
bring light to those who are in dark places.
And who, now, would
you say is an inspiring figure on the world stage?
Malala Yousafzai and
Michelle Obama. And Emma Watson is becoming a very powerful voice for younger
We have picked the Mantra necklace that we
feel represents what inspires and motivates Sarah.
We chose ‘Love with an open heart’, as Sarah
is a powerful advocate for opening yourself up to people and showing how much
This month, buy our ‘Love with an open heart’
Mantra necklace at 15% off.