Emily Hayward - Skin Cancer

Emily Hayward's Story

- Skin Cancer

Emily Hayward was diagnosed with malignant melanoma (skin cancer) when she was 17 in 2011 after discovering a mole on her calf. In 2013 a scan revealed the cancer had returned and had spread to her lymph nodes, and later to her lungs, liver and brain.  

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Emily shared her journey through her own YouTube channel, showing her regular trips to the gym and her daily life with her partner, Aisha. Emily didn’t want to be defined by her diagnosis. She wanted to raise awareness of melanoma and to also show that you can still live life to the full while going through cancer treatment or facing a terminal diagnosis. 

"I've just got to live my life knowing that this could be it." 

Emily also felt it was important to show the raw side of cancer, which isn’t often shared. She took her camera to appointments and documented the side effects of treatment. One video shows her shaving her head before having chemotherapy; in another she talks openly about how tired she is and that her speech has become affected. 

After hearing that the tumours in her brain were no longer treatable in March 2018, Emily proposed to Aisha. Together they organised a wedding and married the following month. 

Emily passed away in on 26 June 2018, age 24. A few days later, her wife Aisha shared Emily’s final video and a message to Emily’s 61,000 YouTube subscribers: "I wanted to let you know Emily has passed away. It was very peaceful, she just opened her eyes looked at me, I told her how much I loved her and how proud I was of her. I miss her so much, the days, minutes and hours seem so long now but she was Emily Hayward to the end."

Emily Hayward and her wife Aisha smiling outside in the sun.

"I’m so unbelievably proud of the way Emily shared every single moment of her cancer journey with all her followers — she documented both the highs and lows that came with living with cancer."

Aisha

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