Kate Walsh’s breast cancer diagnosis came 16 years ago in 2004, when she was just 29. Following intensive treatment, Kate describes herself as “free and clear” of the disease. That changed 11 years later when she was devastatingly re-diagnosed in 2015. This time her breast cancer has metastasized.
Together with her husband, Darren and two young children – Lexie, a nine year old daughter and seven year old Archie – Kate has been navigating COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic has on their daily lives.
Her breast cancer continues to be treated through regular oncology appointments and chemotherapy treatments at Bendigo Health, and Darren takes care of the shopping and other errands so that Kate can avoid public places and the increased risk of infection.
A Cancer Wellness program, funded by Dry July, has run yoga therapy sessions which Kate describes as “Awesome” and as something she can’t wait to return to once restrictions are eased “I am desperate to get back there, it is just so good for my mind and managing anxiety. Every day I wake up knowing that I have cancer. Yoga just helps to be able to manage that, especially in this current environment.” Kate said.
Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Coordinator, Jenna Sing, - a position also funded through Dry July – has developed innovative ways to provide additional support to vulnerable cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic. “In these unprecedented times we are looking at how we best support our patients,” Jenna said.
“Many have been able to mentally cope with their cancer diagnosis, but now face added stressors. One initiative we are implementing is delivering boxes of locally sourced fresh fruit and veggies to ease the stress of going to grocery store. I have received really lovely feedback from patients, like Kate, who have greatly appreciated this gesture.” added Jenna.
For Kate’s family the timing was perfect, “It was unbelievable. It was just what we needed at the time.” Said Kate.