#ShineBrightCreateLight – Every Second Counts and Every Day Matters by Rachel Holt

Written by Guest Writer

April 24, 2022

I felt I needed time to reflect on what I have been through over the last few years. Putting
things in a box was not the best idea and having a beautiful little daughter also had not given
me much time to think or rest myself, as I perhaps should have done.

I am so grateful for life and grateful for love. Every second counts and every day matters.
Back in 2014, I had given up all hope of ever having a child of my own. I was always happy to
be the ‘Fun Aunty!’ But a tinge of sadness always smoldered within me and I knew I had to
at least try for my own. Every time someone said to me ‘Do you have any children?’, my
heart sank and it cut like a knife.

After many consultations and various surgeries, I was able to start my IVF Treatment. It was
really hard having to inject myself and have the drugs every day but we kept going and ‘Oh
My!!!’ the joy we had when I had a positive test! I remember jumping up and down and
screaming I was so happy. All my close family were overjoyed but we kept things secret until
the 8 week scan. I went round gleaming with delight for the next few weeks being careful
with myself in everything I did at home and at work.

Then the devastation hit! The scan showed that I was pregnant but that the embryo had not
developed. There was no heartbeat. I couldn’t speak! My stomach felt empty and I felt like I
had died inside. I will never forget how numb I felt having to take a tablet that very same
week to get rid of the embryo. I was heartbroken!
I struggled for a few weeks but because I had been pregnant there was hope and I wanted
to try again. We started treatment again and 4 months later I was pregnant again and I can
honestly say it was the best feeling I have ever experienced in my life.

Things were going well, I shared my news with friends and work colleagues and my family
were so happy. Something inside me though was telling me there was something very
wrong? I couldn’t put my finger on it and while out on a walk, I found myself looking up at
the sky and saying ‘Something’s coming isn’t it! What is it?’.
A few weeks later, I began to get a strange throbbing feeling in my armpit and right breast. I
could feel a lump and I was worried so my partner and I decided we would get things
checked out. I was examined and I had a biopsy and scans. I knew something was wrong
when they brought another consultant in to check the screen.
Then, we waited for what seemed to be an eternity. We were called into a room where the
consultant asked me to sit down. The words Stage 3 and aggressive breast cancer were all I
heard and all I could say was ‘I’m pregnant!’ I told her ‘This baby is not going to die, I am
having this baby!’

I was told there was a chance the baby might not survive or would possibly have some form of disability.

The professionals would have to tread carefully and closely follow my treatment.

I had 8 Chemo’s in total and the first 4 I had my baby was inside me. I had to have a scan to
check the baby was okay after each treatment. Every time I went for Chemo I asked to be in a
separate room as I couldn’t cope with the pitying looks I got, having a bump and being
hooked up to all the equipment. I tried the cold cap but still lost a lot of my hair on top of
my head. My hair falling out in big clumps was heartbreaking. I lost my eyebrows, eyelashes,
finger and toenails but still put make-up on as it made me feel better. I was so sick but I honestly
didn’t know if it was from the treatment or morning sickness.

After the first 4 Chemo’s they brought my beautiful baby girl in early at 35 weeks. She was tiny
but she was strong, perfect, and absolutely fine. We were so relieved and happy. After 3
weeks I started my treatment again, 4 more to go, I was counting them down 1 by 1. After
that, I had a lumpectomy, my lymph nodes were removed, and radiotherapy followed.
A year after my diagnosis my treatment was done.
My daughter inspires me every single day. She is 4 now and has no idea how special she
truly is but one day I will tell her that she brought the brightest light into the darkest of

I have no idea how long I have left but I do know all I want to do is support children and adults
to help them thrive and enjoy every day of their lives. I have never felt stronger and I
feel like I could cope with anything after going through all this. I try not to let silly things
stress my out any more. I also have a lot more confidence in myself now.
If you are still reading this everyone please always remember: ‘Every second counts and
every day matters! Live every day of your life as if it is your last’ #ShineBrightCreateLight
in whatever you do today! Love life and live to love! Most importantly of all, do what makes
you happy every single day!

Enjoy living!


  1. SJ

    What a wonderful post. In absolute awe at the bravery, tenacity and strength of Rachel.

    • Erika Petrie

      Thank you so much for this valued comment Sammy Jane…Rachel is indeed strong to overcome what she has and also inspirational in her resolve to make a difference to differently able children now too, with her amazingly positive makaton videos, her sign language expertise and ability to write inspiring songs of her own as well. #ShineBrightCreateLight is definitely an apt hashtag and motto for her because this is exactly what she does…she shines brightly like a star! 😉

    • Rachel Holt

      Thank you so much 😊 I hope it helps anyone who is struggling with any of the issues raised

  2. John Milne

    Anyone who reads this story without a tear in their eye and a lump in their throat, has never been to the edge of life as Rachel has experienced, to then go through as much as she had to endure while carrying a life within her more precious to her than any other wealth imaginable is testimony to love of what is now a truly beautiful young girl and mindset determination as well. Doctors will tell you they can work wonders but even they need your mindset and inner Strength to BELIEVE you are going to get better. May Rachel have a great life watching her daughter grow into a beautiful young lady that is one of natures gifts to our world. A great achievement by a lady who had the courage to bring a new life into the world against all odds. Admiration for her doesn’t describe it sufficiently. may she and her daughter have a great life together

    • Erika Petrie

      I couldn’t have put it better myself John Milne…Rachel has had tremendous faith, courage and resilience to come out the other side the way she has done and immense bravery and love to be able to recount her story too! Your comments are much appreciated and on point. Thank you so very much 🙂

    • Rachel Holt

      Wow! I’m blown away by this comment thank you so much. I live every day of my life now and I’m trying so hard to be a good mum. I hope to bring my daughter up in happiness, music, dancing and living life to the full and just enable her to get out there and fulfill her dreams 😊

  3. Michael Ward

    Absolutely remarkable in every sense. What a story. I’m delighted to now call Rachel a friend. Truly wonderful 👏👍

    • Erika Petrie

      Thank you Michael…Rachel is without a doubt a bright shining star!

    • Rachel Holt

      You’re a star Mike and have helped me more than you know ⭐️

  4. Ruby Stanley

    Deeply inspiring story💖Erika Petrie 💙💫💜Illuminates with beautiful light throughout🤗each line. WOW🌟
    Praying the very best life has to offer
    for mom and daughter 🙏🏼💫

    • Erika Petrie

      Indeed Ruby – thank you for contributing your comments…Rachel shines brightly both through her story and how she continues to inspire as a person. I feel humbled to know her and call her my friend 🙂

    • Rachel Holt

      Thank you so much 😊 for your comment. I pray for a long happy life, to see my daughter grow into a strong, loving and happy woman who knows her own mind and who is not afraid to speak out when she believes in something 🤗

      • Erika Petrie

        If she takes after you that will undoubtedly not be a problem Rachel…she is very lucky to have you as her mum!


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