Drusillas’ Zoo Keeper Conquers Cancer and Completes Charity Skydive
Over the past year, 21-year-old Zoo Keeper Gabby Charlesworth has bravely battled and defeated adrenal cancer. This weekend, she took to the sky and jumped out of a plane to raise money for the team of doctors and nurses who saved her life.
Drusillas’ Head of Marketing and Director said: “We are so immensely proud of Gabby. It’s hard to put into words how terrible this past year for her must have been. She has been a warrior throughout her treatment, and has been so keen to get back to work! It was all we could do to keep her away until she was recovered!”
“Gabby is a truly inspirational and amazing young woman and to do a skydive while still undergoing chemotherapy just proves what an incredibly strong person Gabby is!”
Zoo Keeper, Gabby Charlesworth, commented: “Last year I was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. Apart from taking out the tumour (I am told it was the size of a mango) with the adrenal gland, I also lost a kidney and part of my aorta and diaphragm in the process – but I have survived, when many are not so lucky.”
“I was never expecting to find I had cancer. I just mentioned on a routine doctor’s appointment that my voice seemed a bit deeper. At only 21, the thought of having anything life threatening never crossed my mind. I was fit and healthy – enjoying my horse riding and job as a zookeeper at Drusillas.”
“Adrenal cancer is extremely rare and aggressive, particularly in my age group, 1 in every million people are diagnosed with it. I was therefore very fortunate to be quickly referred to Kings College Hospital in London, to the specialist endocrinologist and surgeon there. As soon as I was well enough, I decided I wanted to do as skydive to raise money to help the amazing team at Kings at the HPB unit, who not only saved my life, but treat others like me with life threatening conditions. In addition, I wanted 50% of the funds to go to Cancer Research, to continue their work into finding cures for cancers like mine.”
“I had never done anything like a skydive before but figured now was the time to do something extraordinary with the life I have been given. It was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone!”