We are passionate about sharing the tales of people who are making a positive change in the world we are living in today - Elle Halliwell is one of those people. She is an Australian journalist, speaker, health coach and author whose mission is to inspire others to live their best lives. In her former years, Elle was the young, dynamic and hugely popular Daily Telegraph Fashion and Entertainment Reporter, where she shared the stories of others, but today, it's her story that people want to hear about it.
Elle was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2016. A few days later, just as she was telling friends and family about the grim diagnosis, she found out she was four weeks pregnant. She was faced with an impossible choice: either terminate her unborn baby and begin treatment that would give her the best chance of survival or continue with the pregnancy and delay effective intervention for her cancer. Elle chose her baby over herself and against all the odds, gave birth to her beautiful son, Tor, in December 2016 and started treatment thereafter.
Elle has discovered a new passion for nutrition and healthy living. Her journey, hard and painful though it was, has made her more determined than ever to live well and enjoy life to the full for the sake of her family. Here we speak with Elle about her journey, the words of advice that carried her through the darkest of times, and why she views jewellery as if it’s a chapter in a book.
Your journey is nothing short of inspiring Elle, you’re a cancer thriver, author, motivational speaker and well-being advocate but first and foremost, you’re a mother of your beautiful baby boy, Tor. After what must have been an incredibly challenging 9 months since finding you were positive to both a pregnancy and cancer diagnosis, what was it like to see and hold your boy in your arms for the first time?
There was so much relief. Just knowing he’d arrived safely in the world made every tough moment seem completely worth it. It also marked a new chapter in my life; I started treatment a few weeks after he was born, which was scary and had its own set of challenges, but I was lucky enough to have so much support around me which made such a difference.
It’s hard to believe my little man is nearly four!
Your career as a journalist and TV presenter has allowed you to tell the stories of others, what is like to now be telling your own story to inspire and motivate people?
It was incredibly daunting at first. I felt so raw and exposed, but after receiving my first message from someone else with CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia), telling me that by sharing my experience I’d helped them feel less alone, it was worth it. Now I’m so passionate about helping people overcome their own adversity but sharing the lessons I learned during my own experiences.
What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout your journey?
That if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. For example, I view my cancer (which is uncurable, but so far manageable) as a blessing, and a daily reminder to not take a single moment for granted, rather than a life sentence.
You made a conscious decision to completely shift your lifestyle to live and eat organically which led you down the path of nutrition and naturopathy. What measures have you taken to arm yourself with the knowledge and skills to live an organic and natural lifestyle?
Yes, I have a Health Coach certification with IIN and will graduate as a naturopath in December. I feel that conventional and alternative medicine can work beautifully together, with self-care rituals, holistic health practices and dietary knowledge a great way to prevent us from having to rely on the public healthcare system down the track.
As a sustainable jewellery brand, we know that choosing the better path is not necessarily the easiest. Has this life choice presented any challenges?
It has. It can be really difficult educating older generations as to why fast food, milkshakes and processed “treats” are not great foods to give their grandchildren!
But knowing I am prone to anxiety, I’ve learned to lead by example and simply ensure what I feed myself and my family at home is as organic and healthy as possible, and not stress myself out if Tor comes home with a pocket full of chocolate wrappers.
I do the best I can, and that’s enough.
What do you think the world needs more of, especially in a time such as now?
Kindness. I’ve really become aware of how people are becoming almost religious about their lifestyles, beliefs and choices to the point that discussion leads to argument and shaming.
We’re all at different stages in our spiritual growth, and forcing our own ideals upon others usually has the opposite affect than we hope for.
I feel we should be more understanding, accept that we’re all human and make mistakes, and respect each others’ differences; as long as they aren’t causing hurt or harm.
Jewellery to us is a form of storytelling, self-expression and individualism. What does jewellery mean to you?
For me, a piece of jewellery is like a chapter in a book. It holds stories about life, and collects more and more pages as time passes.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become very discerning about the pieces I wear. Each tells a story, and has a special meaning to me.
What does your NMJ piece mean to you?
I chose the Naum Stone Ring to signify the spiritual progress I’ve made in this decade of my life, as I just celebrated my 35th birthday.
I love Moldavite; it’s connected to our heart chakra, is a powerful stone for meditation and has been used as a protective, lucky talisman since the stone age. It’s also said to contain elements of peridot, which is my birthstone.
Every time I look at my ring I’m reminded to take a deep breath, enjoy the journey and just be open to the gifts of the Universe.