When I became seriously ill, that’s when I really started listening to my own instincts. My gut feeling told me that my diagnosis, and the second opinion, were both wrong. The third examination confirmed me that my gut was right. If I would have gone with the first diagnose, I would have had a wrong surgery and I might not have lived to tell this story.

After the surgery I decided to follow my heart and start for myself as a social entrepreneur, documentary maker and TV host. This is now three and a half years ago and in that time I have grown to become a real ambassador for the neighborhood Kanaleneiland.

I have never in my life been so close to my own true being as I am today. Back in the days I found it difficult to truly be myself. As the only dark girl in most of my schools I found the ignorant questions annoying and tiring. I now realise that often I presented myself different than I really felt. Being your true self is so important, it’s something I try to teach my children every day.

My seed for change? Follow your heart. Sometimes you might be afraid that you will hurt people by being who you really are. In the end you will hurt yourself more than those others by pretending to be something you’re not.