Blogger who thought her cancer symptom was a ‘hangover’ wins cancer awareness award

Cancer blogger Sophie Trew wins Remarkable Person prize at Live Better With’s Spotlight Awards

Sophie Trew
Sophie Trew

An insightful and determined cancer blogger has been awarded one of our Remarkable Person prizes at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.

Since being diagnosed with cancer at 23 years old, Sophie Trew has been campaigning and raising awareness for lesser-known cancer treatments through her blog and workshops. This year, she also founded the Trew Fields Festival – the UK’s first ever holistic cancer awareness festival.

We spoke to Sophie to find out more about what motivates her: 

Sophie Trew was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23. When she first began feeling lethargic, 26-year-old Sophie Trew put it down to being run down following her visit to Colombia to film a documentary.

But when a lump began to form on the left-hand side of her neck she sought medical help.

Initially, her GP also thought her symptoms had been sparked by her travels, believing she had contracted tuberculosis while away.

But a string of tests revealed she actually had Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system.

“I thought the ongoing tiredness was just an extended hangover from being away,” remembered Sophie, who is a Multi-Media Journalism graduate.

Following her shock diagnosis at Basingstoke Hospital in April 2014, Trew immediately began a six-month course of chemotherapy.

With her journalism background, she immediately wanted to research more about the disease.

The blogger during treatment

“My trigger point was when I was diagnosed I was told by doctors that there was nothing I could do to help myself and that made me stop and think that simply cannot be true.

“So luckily I started researching and realised there was this whole possibility of integrative options and alternative supportive treatments like your diet, like meditation, like yoga and working out ways of how to look after your body while going through treatment.”

Struggling with the side-effects, she began to look into other ways to make her body stronger as she navigated the gruelling treatment.

Sophie began to introduce exercise to her daily regime and detoxed by cutting sugar, dairy and most glutens out of her diet. She also had homeopathic treatments, and took up meditation and juicing.

cancer support group

Shocked by the lack of information and resources that were readily available to aid recovery, Sophie felt empowered to make a change and set up her page Trew Talks on Facebook and YouTube where she devotes herself to raising awareness about treatments and lifestyle changes that aid recovery. She hopes her actions will help others with cancer find relief.

“There’s so much out there and we just need to dig. The blog was fuelled by the fact that I wanted to share everything that I didn’t know, so I could help other people.”

This past summer, Sophie founded The Trew Fields Festival –  the UK’s first ever cancer awareness and holistic festival. Its aim was to be a positive celebration of life, with health workshops, classes, great food, music, comedy and discussions.

Sophie enjoying herself at the Trew Field Festival with Kris Hallenga, founder of the CoppaFeel! cancer charity

“I wanted to create an event that could bring together the community that had inspired me throughout my cancer experience,” Sophie explained. “It was the UK’s first of its kind, so it was really important to me. People travelled from all over Europe to be there which was really exciting.”

Sophie is an advocate and passionate about a lot of things – from a non-toxic lifestyle to alternative cancer treatments. Another touchy subject she is also keen to discuss is the use of words like ‘fighter’ and ‘battle’ when talking about cancer.

“I think the language is very aggressive,” she explained. “If we’re going to use ‘attack’ and ‘battle’ it turns it into a fight. My diagnosis was a wake-up call that my body needed looking after rather than killing and fighting something.

“I think a lot of people follow that language and don’t question it. The aggression makes me feel quite uncomfortable. Also, we talk about people who survived like they’re winners and people who die as if they’ve lost their battle, but they could have won many things. My aim is to show that while destructive, a cancer diagnosis can be transformative and you can go on to live a great life after treatment.”

Sophie, a champion of a non-toxic lifestyle, now works as the young women’s network coordinator for Victoria’s Promise, a charity that supports young women battling cancer, and supports Yes To Life, the UK’s first integrative cancer charity.

The first of its kind, the Spotlight Awards shine a light on the achievements of truly remarkable people, products, and services in the cancer community. Nominated by the public, and voted by a panel of expert judges, the winners are from all walks of life, of all ages, and from across the world.

The Spotlight Awards have been organised by Live Better With, an award-winning online platform where cancer patients and their loved ones can find products and information to help with the symptoms and side effects of living with cancer.

See the full list of Spotlight Award winners here.

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