At 28, Tiffany Maurice-Christy had everything she wanted – a good career, a happy relationship, a supportive family and a future that looked bright.
But in September last year, her world crumbled when she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma – a type of bowel cancer.
“I realized my whole life was going to change,” she said. “It felt like everything I planned and everything I wanted was never going to happen.”
One of Tiffany’s ambitions, which she never dreamed there would be an issue with, was that she would start a family with her partner Matt.
Next week – Tuesday April19th – millions of people will see Tiffany, from Croydon, share her story during An emotional film due to be shown during The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer on Channel 4.
The first signs of Tiffany’s illness started last summer. For several months, she had been having tummy pain, bleeding from the bottom and losing weight.
Tiffany, now 29, who works as an optometrist, said: “I was really ill, and I knew something was not right. I went to see the doctor and I was referred for further tests.
“After several months, the news was not good – the doctors found cancer in my rectum and colon and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 adenocarcinoma.
“I needed to start chemotherapy, but as it could affect my fertility, I had treatment to harvest my eggs first. I dream of having a little family with Matt, so this was really important for us – I had never thought of having kids as being an issue before. ”
Tiffany and Matt had been together for five years but did not live together. But as soon as she was diagnosed, he moved in. Her mum moved in too.
The fertility treatment took two weeks and was followed by 12 rounds of chemotherapy which began at the start of November.
Tiffany said: “The treatments were every two weeks and it was such a difficult time both mentally and physically. You’re never sure it’s working until you have more scans, so I was getting more poorly and just hoping it was doing its job. At times, I found it all so draining and I had to sleep so much to recover. ”
The chemotherapy continued until January 2022 and had shrunk the cancer but doctors could not carry out the surgery straight away.
Instead she started six weeks of chemo-radiation, which she has just completed. The surgery should be in a few months’ time.
Tiffany said: “When I got diagnosed, I realized my whole life was going to change. It felt like everything I planned and everything I wanted was never going to happen.
“But I have a motto – ‘We Got This’ and I wear this on my t-shirts and hoodies every time I go to the hospital. So does everyone who comes with me – we’ve all got them!
“The last year has been such an emotional rollercoaster – one day I can be so positive and the next day I can be crying all day. I’ve had amazing support from my family and friends. It’s such a team effort – if one of us is down, everyone rallies round and we pick each other up to keep going. ”
Tiffany has been sharing her journey on YouTube and Instagram @tiffanythinks. She had been making YouTube videos since she was 21 but decided to document her cancer experience to create a journal she could look back on.
By supporting the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, she is keen to help raise cancer awareness and the importance of research.
“I wanted to share my story to help SU2C as cancer affects one in two people. With your body, you know your body the best – if something is not right, get it checked out. If it is cancer, you would rather have it diagnosed earlier. ”
In London around 37,600 people are diagnosed with cancer a year. **
The special episode which will see celebrities Ellie Goulding, Mawaan Rizwan, Sophie Morgan and Tracy Ann Oberman put their baking skills to the test, is dedicated to raising funds for life-saving research.
Through the ‘The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer’, supporters are being encouraged to donate to the cause, host their own baking fundraiser or buy special Star Baker themed merchandise available online or at Cancer Research UK shops across Croydon and London.
Since its launch in 2012, the campaign has raised more than £ 93 million to fund 59 clinical trials and research projects across the UK.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for London, said: “We are so grateful to Tiffany and her family for helping us to continue our mission. One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, ** but all of us can play a part to help beat it. That’s why we’re asking everyone to Stand Up To Cancer and raise money this spring.
“Every penny will go directly to cutting-edge research, helping our tireless scientists to speed up progress and save lives.”
Tiffany’s film will be broadcast during ‘The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer’ on Channel 4 at 8pm on April 19. Following the show, the episode will be available to stream on demand via All 4.
To donate or fundraise in support of Stand Up To Cancer visit su2c.org.uk/bake-off.