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Cancer survivor who was not expected to reach 18 sets up own business aged 23

A young cancer sufferer who was not expected to live to 18 has defied doctors’ beliefs and started her own business as she prepares to celebrate her 24th birthday.

Jess Taylor was featured in the Advertiser at the age of 13, in 2008, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and was told by doctors that she would not survive five years.

Now 23, the former student of Newlands Girls’ School, Maidenhead, has raised about £35,000 for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and has started her own business as an independent weight loss consultant.

She said: “I’ll never truly get the all clear but I know it’s never going to come back.

“99.9 per cent of the time I was very positive.

“I just wanted to get through it, but sometimes I was down and I just thought ‘why me?’

“Now I have my own business, it means I am self-employed and I can help more people.”

After Jess, who lives in Meadow View, Marlow Bottom, was diagnosed with cancer, she underwent a seven-and-a-half hour operation, during which 75 per cent of the tumour was removed.

That was followed by four months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy on her brain and spine.

She also had a stroke during surgery, leaving her unable to walk for two years.

Her mother Karen Taylor said: “I am so proud of her.

“She’s come such a long way considering the news she was given.

“I didn’t think we would see her turn 18.”

Jess decided to fight back while she was ill and founded the Jess Taylor Foundation under the umbrella of The Brainstrust.

The money she raised went towards a new ward at the hospital, providing children with televisions, laptops and consoles.

When she was going through her treatment, Jess told the Advertiser that she just wanted to feel like a normal girl again, and that she missed doing ‘normal’ things, like going to the cinema or having sleepovers with friends.

Now Jess has finally found a normal life, working as an independent weight consultant under the Cambridge Weight Plan.

As part of her business, she works one day a week in a room at the Divas and Dudes Hair Salon in Marlow, the same salon where one of her closest friends had her hair cut off to raise money for her treatment years before.

Karen advised that any family going through something similar should get in touch with The Brainstrust.

She said: “Through them, you can find forums on Facebook with people who have the exact same tumour.

“They can understand what you’re going through, and point you to new treatments.”

Visit brainstrust.org.uk for more information.

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