Meet @ashleyrmorine (tune into our instagram for the video for her full story!)

I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2017 at age 27.

At the time, I was living in the Canadian Arctic with my husband. I’m a Dental Hygienist, and in September 2017 I was treating a patient when I noticed my peripheral vision blurring in my left eye. The small, remote town I was living in did not have specialists, the nearest one being 3200 km’s away.

I had to push to be referred to an ophthalmologist. It was exhausting.

Eventually, I ended up in incredibly skilled hands in Edmonton, Alberta and was treated with plaque brachytherapy. After initial treatment, I was treated quarterly with vision saving injections (Those are NOT fun.)

What got me through my cancer diagnosis and treatment?

Hearing and reading about others, like me, who were diagnosed at a young age. Nobody else really “gets it.”

Which is why I now volunteer and blog with Young Adult Cancer Canada, speak on podcasts and to news media about ocular melanoma, and AYA cancer awareness.

I remember how scared I was when I heard I had cancer.

I cried every day for months, I lost sleep, weight, and hair.

My mind constantly spiraled at the thought of my own mortality. I had moved to the arctic to save money to buy my dream home, dream car and to start a family with my husband. However, with those words “You have cancer” I realized this was not what I wanted, or needed after all.

In fact, 3 years later, I’m writing from Brisbane, Australia, Where I am now living with my new partner.

I’m not thankful for cancer, rather, I am thankful that cancer forced me to prioritize what’s truly important. Living in the moment, and ensuring I am happy.