Personal cancer story
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago and, at 32, I didn't have a clue about cancer. At the time I had a one-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. The greatest challenge would be the logistics of having cancer treatment and taking care of a young family.
I was referred to Cancer Council's Cancer Connect service through a health professional following my initial surgery. The peer support volunteer who phoned me had recovered from a similar cancer experience and was 10 years post treatment. Her call made an immediate and significant difference. She was able to offer plenty of practical tips, but more importantly, speaking with her provided me with much needed encouragement and a strong sense of hope.
Eighteen months following my treatment, I trained with the Cancer Connect program to become a peer support volunteer myself. I've now volunteered for over 10 years and have provided support to more than 140 women.
As Connect volunteers, we are closely matched to those we support by cancer and treatment types, age and family situations. However, it's interesting that everyone has a different story to tell. I've spoken with women from regional and outback areas who are isolated from the healthcare access we take for granted. I've also spoken with women who are still pregnant when they're faced with a cancer diagnosis. Every person is different.
The great thing about the Cancer Connect program is that it's so easy to help as a volunteer by just listening. Having already walked the cancer diagnosis and treatment path, we can offer unique understanding and support to others facing the journey ahead.
Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer