Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a tough knock, but there’s a silver lining in the form of the love shown by family and friends determined to ease the blow. Just ask these breast cancer survivors who say the support of their loved ones has made all the difference.
Become a ‘Breast Friend’ by visiting a Bakers Delight store and purchase Pink Fun Buns.
Until 15 May 100% of the sale will be donated to BCNA. From 15 until 29 May purchase six-packs of rolls and $1 will be donated to BCNA.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE OF BREAST FRIENDS
I am a 45-year-old married mum of two children. In January 2018, in a life-changing moment, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer can stop you in your tracks and halt time. Over the last 14 months, there have been many twists and turns, but my best friends have been beside me, never skipping a beat.
I’ve had chemotherapy (losing every hair on my body), radiation therapy on the right breast and armpit, a skin graft and eight breast surgeries including a bilateral mastectomy. The stream of support has been endless. I’ve been spoilt at many lunches, had pedicures, had a meal plan put together around surgeries, and they have willingly babysat our children. My friends have also taken me to appointments and kept me laughing the whole way. They have always touched base with my husband and my children too, knowing the ripple effect that cancer can create.
Having breast cancer has impacted my life in many ways. There have been obvious physical complications, but emotionally it has, at times, been draining too. I’m a primary school teacher and decided to leave my job as illness and appointments made me very unreliable. I also worry more now about my future and the future of my health – something I never really had to do.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has been a place I can tap into for support. I used the website, mostly, and read my way through the infinite amount of evidence-based information. I liked and needed that. It’s a beautiful way to help ease anxiety around the topic of cancer and a place to visit on the ‘scary’ days.
I decided to be a part of BCNA’s annual fundraising campaign that’s celebrating Breast Friends because it was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and take a risk but most of all to really enjoy a day in a relaxed atmosphere with the women who have been by my side. I remember thinking I would do anything to help raise awareness, even remove my clothes. I feel it’s of such importance and I’m so glad I did. It was only at the end of the photoshoot, however, that I realised there are 550 stores nationwide and that my semi-naked photos would be sprinkled all over Australia! The images show us all with a happy demeanour, and this is because the love and support shown to us by our breast friends are truly second to none!
I look forward to the many ‘selfies’ that my friends will take when they see a picture of me cupping two-knot rolls and pink buns, and I also look forward to seeing people all across Australia showing their support. I have been given a positive diagnosis. Breast cancer was a bad card to be dealt, but as long as I have cards I am still in the game – a game I intend to win.
MY BREAST FRIEND
I remember the doctor saying “I’m sorry”. “That it was unexpected for someone my age (29) to be diagnosed with breast cancer…” but that statement didn’t make it any easier to take. My stomach dropped, my vision blurred and I felt a ringing in my ears. I knew life from that moment on would never be the same.
I had been experiencing an itchy nipple and found a hard lump one day. After an ultrasound and biopsy, my diagnosis was DCIS breast cancer. As well as the shock of the diagnosis and treatment there are lots of different issues that a younger woman with the disease faces compared with someone older. All of a sudden I had to make decisions about freezing my eggs because the chemotherapy and hormone blockers can make some women permanently infertile. My partner Matt and I were forced to have serious discussions about our future together and if it possibly included children. Including longer-term management of the disease, there are so many things to consider.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has been invaluable for me. Early in my diagnosis I was put in contact with them and attended a Young Women’s conference. It was comforting to know there were others just like me. Not only because there was lots of information and resources relevant to me now but also because it was very reassuring to have their support for every stage of my journey, including long after the treatment had finished.
My mum Kathy is my Breast Friend. She’s supported me immensely, attends all of my many appointments (even when I don’t want her to), and remembers information when my ‘chemo’ brain fails me. I moved back home when I started treatment and, without hesitation, she welcomed my partner too. Mum has been a taxi driver and chef, sat with me in an emergency and done whatever needs doing. Most of all she has supported me with her reassuring presence and positivity; she is a strong-willed and empathetic woman. There is little doubt that my cancer experience would have been so much harder without her unfaltering love and support, for which I am so blessed and grateful.
It’s not the first time cancer has affected my family. My dad died of cancer, and my brother has a brain tumour. It’s essential to have support when times are tough because you have good days and bad days and just knowing that there are people around you who love you and want you to succeed is really important.
My mum and I took part in the Bakers Delight photo shoot for BCNA. It was a fun experience, and I met other survivors and supportive staff who are all striving towards a better future for people with breast cancer. I’m happy to share some of my story with the hope it resonates with others in a similar situation. You are not alone; there are many people and resources out there for you to draw strength from. Please help support Bakers Delight raise funds for BCNA so they can continue their amazing work with those affected by breast cancer.