Charlotte Smith is best known for her farming expertise.
Starting off her career in local radio, the 57-year-old Leicestershire native has certainly made a name for herself in broadcasting.
But it’s not just Charlotte’s reports on the environment that have made headlines.
In a 2016 interview with The Mirror, the presenter revealed that she had been diagnosed with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) – a rare lung disease.
LAM is caused by abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells in the lungs and lymphatic system, eventually resulting in the loss of lung function.
Diagnosed in 2010, doctors told her that the average time from being diagnosed to needing a lung transplant or dying was 10 years.
She first noticed symptoms in 2010, when she started feeling breathless after her brother’s wedding.
Doctors first told her that her lung collapsed and sent her to have it reinflated.
However, due to still experiencing breathlessness, a specialist then diagnosed her with LAM after further testing.
She told The Mirror: “I saw a specialist at London’s University College Hospital and an MRI scan identified multiple cystic air spaces in both lungs. They realised it was LAM.”
She continued: “When I heard I probably had this very rare, potentially serious disease with an unpronounceable name I went into shock.
“The doctor was honest and told me all the stats, including it being 10 years, on average, between diagnosis and needing a lung transplant – or even death.”
Despite the doctor saying it was the worst case scenario, Charlotte could only focus on the possibility of having 10 years left to live.
She also wished that she took someone with her when she was diagnosed so they could ‘listen to all the facts’ as she could only think about death.
MyLondon’s brilliant new newsletter The 12 is packed with news, views, features and opinion from across the city.
Every day we’ll send you a free email at around 12pm with 12 stories to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets.
Never miss a moment by signing up to The 12 newsletter here.
Charlotte is married to her husband Mike, who is a journalist, and together they have two teenage children – Maddy and Sam.
Speaking about how her family took the diagnosis, she said: “I left the consultation feeling like my world was collapsing. My kids were just five and three then and I was worried that I wouldn’t be around to see them grow up. When I told Mike about LAM, he was so calm and reassuring.”
It took the mother-of-two a few months to be at peace with her condition.
However in 2011, a world expert from the LAM centre in Nottingham told her that her case of LAM was mild.
She also learned that Rapamycin is an available drug she could take if her condition was to get worse. The drug slows down the rate of decline in lung function, preventing the need of a lung transplant.
Charlotte revealed in the interview that whenever she feels breathless, she gets worried that her lung has collapsed again; she also said that she avoids taking long flights to prevent her lung from collapsing during a flight.
“One thing I’m really glad about is that I had my kids before getting the disease,” she said. “Some women are diagnosed before having children and then face a horrible decision because it’s believed that in certain cases pregnancy can make LAM progress faster.”
Taking positive things from the experience, the presenter explained that the diagnosis made her re-evaluate her life, slow down and feel grateful.
Want more of the latest news sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for our tailored newsletters here.