Reigate resident Caroline Wright was just a teenager when her mum was diagnosed with cancer.

The trauma suffered by the family during the following years left her battling health problems both mental and physical before Mary sadly passed away in 1991, aged 44 (Caroline was 18).

Since then, she has raised a family of her own, and thrown herself into fundraising efforts for charities such as Cancer Research UK and Epsom charity Love Me Love My Mind.

In her latest act of selflessness, Caroline raised money for Cancer Research by taking part in the arduous Shine Night Walk (marathon) event last Saturday (September 21).

She told the Comet that the impact of cancer and mental health on her own life had inspired her to turn negative experiences into something more positive.

"Having grown up in a traumatic teenagehood, with my mother dying while I was still at school, I now have two little girls myself and my outlook in life has changed.

"I'm using my life experiences for good, and doing the Shine marathon was one of those things. But it was tough!" She said.

Highlighting the personal reasons for her charity work, Caroline pointed out that the cancer treatment her mother received during her illness was dated compared to what is offered in the UK now, and the improvements have come largely thanks to advances in medical research.

"If my girls are or any other family are ever in that same position as I was as a child I hope that they have better treatment," she said.

Regarding the walk itself, the Reigate resident described the feelings of mutual support that accompanied the walk.

"It's like a community really. You might not know everyone but we're all the same with those t-shirts on and talking to each other.

"The atmosphere is loving, caring and quite electric," she said, adding that at the walk's most difficult moments the crowd and other walkers encouraging each other onwards.

When she's not doing charity fundraisers or looking after her kids, Caroline channels her experiences and skills as a graphic designer back into communities.

"I've always been interested in art in some form. During my own illness I did a lot of mental health work, working for the NHS and in an art studio run for people experiencing mental health issues and eventually got my degree in graphic design in 2012," she said.

The mum of two worked for ten years with First Steps, an NHS mental health service. She helped with designing promotional materials for the organization.

Today, Caroline users her expertise as a designer in her work for Love Me, Love My Mind, a mental health charity based in Epsom — creating flyers and information sheets, and helping promote the charity.

She also gives talks about her remarkable journey with the aim of inspiring others.

Her next discussion is scheduled for the Epsom Mental Health and Well-being Festival at St Barnabas Church in Epsom on Wednesday, October 9.