I’m Karen - Mum of two adult daughters, wife of more than 30 years, and a career woman.
I’ve spent decades working to support regional and remote Australia along with the most disadvantaged members of our community, particularly our First Nations people. I was 54 in early 2021 when diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
I’ve now completed 12 months of active treatment with “the red devil” (AC chemo) along with Paclitaxel chemo, had a double mastectomy, complete hysterectomy, radiotherapy, and a couple of extra surgeries to deal with other side effects I experienced.
I was never a girly girl, not much into makeup, rarely blow drying or straightening my hair (unless there was a special occasion) and always felt more comfortable in...
Cancer and its treatment detrimentally disadvantage young people’s education and career development, leading to poor educational attainment and under and unemployment compared to their peers.
Those diagnosed with cancer need evidence-based support to achieve education and employment outcomes, yet there is limited research in this area and few available interventions. By developing an Education Career Support program (ECS) for young people (YP) diagnosed with cancer, this project aims to improve outcomes for individuals with the potential for long-term flow-on effects for community and society.
ECS helps all cancer patients, aged 15-25 (during or post treatment) ECS consultants are trained career counsellors and provide different...
When Josh was 18 months old his mum noticed his glands were swollen. She took Josh to see a doctor and they noticed his liver was also slightly enlarged.
Josh’s mother was told his symptoms could be harmless but was advised to see a paediatrician if she wanted to. Josh’s parents made the life-altering decision to investigate further and the blur of ultrasounds and tests that followed awakened their nightmare.
Just a toddler, Josh was diagnosed with liver cancer. Scans revealed the tumour to be severe, but it didn’t appear to have spread to any of his other organs. The doctors were hopeful that surgery and chemotherapy could save his life, but Josh’s parents and siblings were forced to reckon with the possibility of his death.
Michelle was enjoying life! A happy, healthy, busy life as a wife, mother of two, loving daughter, friend to many and a dedicated nurse.
She had a headache one morning before heading to a stressful day at the hospital during Covid in 2020. She thought little of it until the words on the patient's chart she was reading became completely unrecognisable. Michelle’s life was forever changed from that moment on.
2020 was a year like no other for me. This is the time when the whole world seemed to turn upside down and nothing would ever be the same again. This is where my story begins. July 2020. Also the year of the nurse.
There was nothing good for nurses in 2020 or for me personally. My name is Michelle, and up until this point in my life I...
Lisa is a 51-year-old mum, who runs a theatre company in Ballarat.
In September 2022, she was diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal junction cancer – cancer at the base of her oesophagus where it meets her stomach.
Lisa’s cancer journey demonstrates the importance of advocating for your own health, of asking questions and gathering second opinions. In January 2022, Lisa was experiencing trouble swallowing. As a relatively young, active woman, Lisa’s GP put her symptoms down to reflux, and a follow-up CT scan did not reveal anything. However, her symptom’s persisted and Lisa found a new GP who was significantly worried. She was referred to a surgeon in early May, who also agreed that her symptoms needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
2022 was another busy year for the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre.
Through the ongoing generosity of our community and support from the Dry July Foundation, we are able to provide Wellness Centre services and improved medical treatment to our cancer patients.
Our Ballarat Cancer Centre Day Oncology Centre conducted over 6,500 sessions, including chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies and education sessions. Demand for its services is has grown at 5% p.a. since 2016/17.
Our Wellness Centre relies 100% on community fundraising to offer its support and education services, free of charge, to all cancer patients in our region. Dry July is our biggest single fundraising event of the year.
This year, the Wellness Centre was able to...
In 2021, Jo was a healthy 42-year-old living an active lifestyle in Noosa, Queensland.
She had recently moved from Sydney, where she had been working as a video and digital producer across several big-name brands.
During a routine cervical cancer screening test (which does not screen for ovarian cancer), Jo’s doctor spotted an abnormality.
“My GP assured me that while it was likely nothing serious, she recommended I go for further testing, just as a precautionary measure. I was thinking my worst-case scenario could be a diagnosis of endometriosis,” said Jo.
After undergoing an ultrasound, Jo’s results showed a mass on each ovary. To her shock, further testing revealed elevated levels of a protein in Jo’s blood that indicated a possible...
Meet Rick. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer at just 47 and had a radical prostatectomy last year.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” he says, “I had a proactive GP who started testing me at 40.
“When my PSA started rising, I didn’t hesitate in seeing a urologist - an MRI and biopsy found a Gleason Grade 6 prostate cancer.
“My specialist at the time recommended Active Surveillance with yearly biopsies and PSA monitoring, and earlier this year my PSA hit the high sixes and they found a nodule, suggesting it was growing.
“I went in for surgery 10 days later I got the phone call I was hoping for – they got all of it, with no trace of the cancer in surrounding tissue or lymph nodes.
“Sharing that news with my wife Linda and sons Mitchel and...