Over the past year, I have noticed that what you give out to the world, you receive back ten fold. An old chestnut indeed but in this extreme moment of my life, I see it in even starker relief.

When I began talking publicly about some of the more complex issues about Greg having cancer and my role as a carer, I put myself in a very vulnerable position. To explain some of the emotions we go through on a day-to-day basis is not palatable for some and that’s absolutely OK. I remember very clearly turning away from the TV when Cancer Research UK adverts would come on because I just couldn’t face how scary the prospect of cancer was.

Not so strangely, turning away from a difficult topic does not make it go away nor does it mean it can’t come for you or someone you know.

As I have been speaking honestly about our situation, I have been drawn to others who are doing the same with theirs. Last week, I had the unbelievable privilege of hearing a Wire Wool talk by Hibo Wardere on female genital mutilation (FGM).

Before the talk, my friends and I talked about the subject over pizza. It all felt very heavy and distant from our own experiences. However, it became apparent from the first five minutes that Hibo wasn’t there to portray herself as a victim and overwhelm the audience with sadness. There were facts about the extent of FGM across the world but there was also a lot of laughter as she put us at ease.

The talk was eye opening, sad and everything in between but my overriding impression was how inspirational Hibo is as a woman. She talked with authenticity as a survivor of the most extreme FGM techniques. She is a mother of seven, a wife and spends her life talking about the most traumatic experience in order to educate and help others avoid her own fate. Several laws have been passed to protect young girls in this country because of her speaking out about her own horrors.

My friends and I left buzzing and feeling energised from being in the presence of such honesty and truth. I realised that you don’t need to have personally gone through something to have empathy and have the words of those who have touch your heart.