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Michelle's Mission To Save Lives From Breast Cancer

Breast cancer survivor Michelle has made it her mission to help protect other women from this disease.

Michelle   breast cancer   tax appeal   THRF

"Together, we have a fighting chance to protect all the women we love from breast cancer."

A message from breast cancer survivor, Michelle:

My name is Michelle and I’m on a mission to protect our loved ones from breast cancer.

You see, as well as being a mum to four beautiful kids, the creative behind a homewares business and a lover of indoor plants, the colour blue and indie rock music, I’m also a breast cancer survivor.

Now, it’s my mission to fight for breast cancer awareness, education and research so that other women don’t have to go through what I did.

But as you may know, breast cancer is a formidable and often relentless enemy. Especially here in Australia where rates are increasing and 57 women receive that gut-wrenching diagnosis every day.

It can affect any of us, regardless of health, family history or age.

I was only 39 with no family history of breast cancer when I was diagnosed. My kids were just 12, 11, 4 and 2 years old and it’s heartbreaking for me to think about how scared they must have been.

Unfortunately, Because I was so young, unfortunately I I had to push hard for the tests and scans that ended up saving my life. It was exhausting and frustrating, and I just kept thinking that it shouldn’t be this hard to fight for my health!

That’s why I’m so determined to make sure other women, including my three daughters, get the help they need when they know something isn’t right. But we can only do that with vital new research to improve diagnosis, treatments and survival rates.

I’ve faced my fair share of challenges in life, but the toughest by far has to be my breast cancer fight. If you, or someone you love has gone through something similar, please know I’m sending you all my love and support.

For me, I first noticed something wasn’t right when I was having trouble breastfeeding my youngest daughter, Harper, but my doctor wasn’t concerned.

18 months later, I still felt like something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t feel a defined lump, but it just felt different. So, I went back to my doctor.

I asked for scans and tests, but they said I was too young to have breast cancer. I knew my body and I knew something had changed, so I pushed for a mammogram, an ultrasound and a fine needle biopsy.

Frustratingly, every single test came back negative. But there were a few very small spots of interest, so I was sent to a breast surgeon for a large needle biopsy and further MRI tests. There, my worst fears were confirmed.

They found a 7cm x 5cm malignant tumour and two smaller 8mm tubular tumours. I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer, which normally affects women over 70 years old and is often found later because it’s harder to detect. It’s more like a marshmallow than a hard lump.

Then, it was a whirlwind. A mastectomy was advised and scheduled for the very next day. And just like that, my right breast was removed.

With just over two weeks between the first scans and my mastectomy, I felt bewildered. I knew something was wrong but for this to hit us like it did was completely unexpected.

Breast cancer turned our lives upside down. I had to put my business on hold and my parents moved in to help with the kids. I jumped straight into a three-month bout of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy.

If you or your loved one has gone through cancer treatment, you may would know just how gruelling chemotherapy can be.

Chemo hit me hard. I got really sick with shingles and the flu and had to spend lots of time in hospital away from my kids.

My little ones, Harper and Keira, didn’t understand. I kept my surgery scars from them but told them I needed to have medicine that would make my hair would fall out and we’d have to shave my head.

Ella and Jake, my two older kids, knew everything though. My son even shaved his head with me, and I’ll always treasure the moment he told me he was proud of me.

Thankfully, it’s now six years later and I’m still here enjoying life with my family. I try not to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t pushed for scans or got the treatment I needed.

Sadly, there are so many women out there who aren’t as lucky. 1 in 7 Aussie women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and 3,000 lose their fight every year.

Now, it’s my mission to raise vital funds for The Hospital Research Foundation Group’s world-leading breast cancer research.

That research includes a study being conducted by Dr Sarah Boyle and her team here in Adelaide.

They’re investigating new ways to stop the progression of breast cancer, giving us more time to fight back against this devastating disease.

If Dr Boyle’s research is successful,I it could save the lives of thousands of women.

Dr Boyle says, “So far we’ve found that when tumours experience physical stress, they turn on particular enzymes within the cancer cells that can speed up the growth and spread of cancer.”

“Now, the goal of my research is to understand how and why this physical stress can lead to tumour growth, and ultimately find new ways to slow, stop or even reverse these effects as a new way of treating breast cancer.”

This innovative new research is vital to give all the women we love a fighting chance against breast cancer.

I’ve been an advocate for breast cancer research and awareness from the very start of my journey.

As an ambassador, I always tell my girls that I’ve chosen to tell my story to start conversations, so that people are aware and other young women like them don’t have to go through what I did.

As a mum, I tell my kids I love them at every opportunity, and do everything I can to protect their health and happiness.

Together, we have a fighting chance to protect all the women we love from breast cancer.

Join Michelle’s mission and make a donation to lifesaving breast cancer research!