'I had 12 tumours in my neck': Upminster cancer survivor launches products to ease painful side effects of chemotherapy
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:11 21 August 2019
Four years after she was diagnosed with cancer a 22-year-old has launched her own business with the aim of supporting people dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy.
Beth Botham from High Street, Upminster, was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2015, four months before she was expected to sit her A-levels.
She told the Recorder: "I came across a lump in my neck about the size of a ping pong ball.
"I went for tests and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"At the age of 17 it felt catastrophic. I had my exams in four months and my university place was riding on the results."
The former student at Coopers' Company and Coborn school in St Mary's Lane, Upminster, had to be separated from the rest of her students during the exams.
"I had to take medication every half hour," said Beth.
"I couldn't really write because I had a lot of pain in my joints.
"When I was studying it was almost like I was living a double life, doing chemotherapy by day and revision by night.
"I think the pressure eased in a sense because no one expected me to ace the exams."
Despite her doctor advising her to delay her studies, Beth achieved A*AAA and went on to study geography with business economics at Nottingham University.
She is now four years in remission.
Speaking about her diagnosis, Beth said: "In January I had been fighting fit.
"I was slim, agile and sporty, but I had 12 tumours in my neck.
"Come April, I had put on three or four stone and I was so weak that I had to be lifted into the bath.
"The decline was very fast and when I was going through it I felt like I had no idea what was coming.
"I knew about the side effects of losing your hair but I didn't know that there was more to come."
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Beth suffered from skin dryness and a "burning and aching" pain in her joints which would prevent her from sleeping at night.
"My parents were so distraught as they didn't know how to help," said the 22-year-old.
"I remember my mum running up and down the stairs at night to put heat packs on my joints."
After a long day of chemotherapy the last thing Beth said she felt like doing, would be to go shopping to try and find the right products to ease her pain.
She remembers being overwhelmed with gifts of flowers and chocolates from concerned family and friends who often didn't know what to buy her.
While she was at university Bethany had the idea of creating a cancer care kit, a holistic package for people who have been diagnosed with the illness.
Last month she officially launched Rejuvenate Kits.
"When you have cancer, you're so sensitive and you often have flare-ups because your body can't take it," said Beth.
"I couldn't use regular soaps because of the chemicals in them.
"That's why my products are made of organic ingredients."
The kits contain three essential oils which help relax muscles, aid sleep and encourage hair growth, an all-natural shampoo conditioner, organic lip balm and certified organic tea and broccoli seeds which carry disease fighting antioxidants when sprouted.
Beth added: "It answers two fundamental questions - one, what do you buy someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer?
"And two, if you're diagnosed, how do you prepare yourself?
"At the moment I'm a one woman band. One day I'm a photographer and then the next I'm doing social media. "Fortunately I'm really passionate about the project.
"I'm the target audience, so I know what people want."
Beth has now partnered with Teens Unite Fighting Cancer to send 10per cent of the profits of each kit to the charity.
The same charity supported Beth when she had cancer.
Visit rejuvenatekits.com to find out more.