Natalie and The Christie celebrate her inspirational story

Categories: School of Health and Society

A Senior Nursing Lecturer at the University of Salford has been the focus of a frenzy of media interest this week. Natalie Yates Bolton has appeared in more than 400 different media outlets and has done interviews for Woman’s Hour, Sky News and Channel 5.  

Image of Natalie

Her story has set the world alight, after The Christie Hospital shared the news that she is now cancer-free after six years of treatment on a relatively new drug, Ibrance.

She has survived cancer five times and has nothing but praise for the doctors who have been involved in her treatment, led by Dr Sacha Howell.

“The Christie has cared for me for the last 21 years and, thanks to the wonderful medical team who have treated me, I feel enabled and empowered to live an amazing life, “ said Natalie.

To celebrate how well she feels she has set herself some incredible fitness goals, completing six marathons, three triathlons and three ultra-marathons.

"I am living proof you can rebuild your life after treatment and come through it stronger, and more appreciative of life," said Natalie.

Natalie has had 11 operations, 30 sessions of chemotherapy, 55 rounds of radiotherapy and 75 rounds of targeted therapy. We asked her about how she managed her career as a senior lecturer at the University throughout her gruelling treatment:

“I received my second cancer diagnosis 11 months after I started working at the University of Salford. Not what you want when you haven’t even worked at an organisation for a year! “ she explained.

“I was fortunate that the Head of School at that time offered to make flexible and supportive arrangements if I wanted to carry on working through my treatment. I really appreciated that offer. In the end I felt I needed to take  time away from work as the chemotherapy was going to be intense and I wanted to prioritise what energy I had on my children.” 

Natalie singles out her current line manager Deputy Director of Nursing Dawn Hennefer for special praise. “Having a supportive line manager has made such a difference over the last six years of being on ‘targeted therapy’. I can openly and honestly discuss what my support needs are in terms of my work commitments and any adjustments I need.

“The personalised nature of this support is an extension of the care I receive from my team at The Christie. I have a high level of loyalty to the University because of the care and support I have received both recently and over the last twenty one years.”

She talks about how her colleagues at Salford have always offered support, and how she has found it useful to share her experiences as a patient with students as part of their learning.

“I feel so lucky to have the colleagues I have at the University;  I love our friendly and positive working relationships and the interesting projects we get to collaborate on. I couldn’t juggle my health  situation and still work in this job that I love without my incredible colleagues; who always seem to be there with the right amount of support and encouragement.

“I sometimes share aspects of my health and treatment journey with students as it provides one more person’s experience they can use to inform their approach to caring for future patients. As my story has been in the media this week I have received some very compassionate communication from our students.”

When we finished our call, Natalie was awaiting a delivery of some new clothes ahead of her planned appearance on Good Morning Britain on Monday morning. It seems an entirely fitting way to celebrate her incredible story, and to tell the world that there is hope and good news to be found even in the darkest times.

Read more of Natalie’s story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-68274881

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.