Lessons about Life from My Terminal Cancer Diagnosis


Megan McClay, a 30-year-old woman living with terminal cancer, advises people to slow down and appreciate what they have. After being diagnosed with stage four ocular melanoma 18 months ago, Megan has learned to value time spent with family and being present with herself. Her story is part of an exhibition called ‘What matters most?’ at Senedd Oriel in the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff Bay. The exhibition, which includes photographs and short films, shares the perspectives of people with terminal illnesses, their families, and those who work in palliative care.

The project was initiated by Ceridwen Hughes, a photographer and filmmaker who experienced the lack of coordinated care and information when her mother died from cancer. Hughes hopes the exhibition will encourage more discussions about end-of-life care and influence policymakers to invest more in it.

Megan, from Wymondham in Norfolk, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma at 26. Initially, she didn’t understand the severity of her diagnosis but was devastated when told the cancer had spread to her liver and she had an estimated two years to live. She is currently on immunotherapy to control the cancer and is planning for the end of her life with her local hospice.

Megan’s partner, Dimitar Kashchiev, has found new perspectives through their journey, learning to slow down and prioritize quality time together. Megan hopes to be remembered as a reminder for people to appreciate what they have in their lives. The exhibition ‘What matters most?’ is a collaboration between the non-profit organization Same But Different, end-of-life charities Marie Curie and Hospice UK, and is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund. It runs until 15 February.

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