Patricia Mahara has a strong family history of cancer. After losing her mother to breast cancer 20 years ago, in 2020 she faced her own battle with the disease, yet she stayed incredibly positive thanks to the strong support networks around her.
Patricia’s treatment included surgery, chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation therapy at the Mater Cancer Centre. She also participated in the Return to Wellness program to help with her recovery, saying “it was the first time throughout the journey that I could talk with ladies that were going through the same things as me.”
Developed by the Mater Breast Care team, Return to Wellness offers breast cancer patients access to a guided exercise program with a physiotherapist and breast care nurse, and advice about their diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Thanks to your support of Mater through Dry July, we will be rolling out the Women’s Wellness after Cancer Program in 2022 which will provide a suite of support services like Return to Wellness to women before, during and after their cancer treatment.
“I [had] a few creaks and cracks in my body from being so unwell. My main goal [was] to get the use of my arms back, so I [could] return to full-time work as a disability support worker,” Patricia said.
Patricia was hoping to develop more strength and gain back muscle, and learn the skills required to give her the confidence to use a private gym once the 8-week program finished.
Patricia explains she not only had her cancer treated but had been offered a whole range of other allied health and support services, including dietetics and physiotherapy as part of the Return to Wellness program.
“My care team has also been amazing, they have so many patients and they treat us all like we’re the most important people in the world.”
“The support I have received from Mater throughout my cancer journey has been incredible, they are truly focused on keeping us well through our treatment, not just treating the disease itself.”
Almost two years on, and Patricia is in remission. Patricia has returned to work and is now filling her life up with the important things. “Friends and family are what’s most important – I’m finding the balance in life now. I feel grateful that I’m still here.”
Your generous support of Dry July means more women will have access to this type of support throughout their cancer journey.
“It’s very important that it continues–it really helped me overcome a lot of struggles past treatment.”