$42,300 raised by superstar fundraising committeeMarch 23rd, 2018
The Breast Cancer Illawarra Fundraiser Committee was founded in mid-2017 by six local Illawarra ladies who at that stage were either Breast Cancer survivors or current Breast Cancer patients. Through their respective journeys, the value and benefit of continued research and development in the area of breast cancer therapeutics became abundantly apparent, and so the idea of a fundraiser was born. The Inaugural 2018 Pink Glitz & Glamour Ball raised $42,300 to help us towards our goal of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030. A huge thank you to these amazing ladies whose stories you can read below.
Dr Kimberley Davis
Dr Kimberley Davis obtained her PhD in 2015 from the University of Wollongong for her work investigating the interactions of novel nickel-based molecules with G-quadruplex DNA, a structure which is implicated in tumour cell immortality. In December 2016 at the age of 30 she was diagnosed with Triple Positive (Progesterone, Oestrogen and Her2 receptor), Stage III Invasive Ductal Carcinoma . Just before Christmas she had the first round of what was to be just over 5 months of Chemotherapy, at the end of May 2017 had a mastectomy and reconstruction plus full axillary clearance, followed by 25 radiation sessions which finished in mid-September. She continues to visit the Oncology ward for an IV infusion every three weeks, which will finish about a fortnight before the 2018 Glitz & Glamour Ball. She has also started 10 years’ worth of hormone-suppressing tablets.
Kimberley was lucky enough to be able to continue running her Piano tutoring studio throughout most of her treatment, and in the second half of 2017 was able to resume some of her Chemistry teaching and research activities at UOW, as well as co-coordinating the UOW Science Fair. She has had wonderful support from family and friends, which has made a great difference and for which she is enormously grateful. She now looks forward to being able to make a real difference to Breast Cancer Research in Australia by assisting in this fundraising event.
Christine Downing is 49, and has two daughters aged 21 and 19. On September 30th 2016 she was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma). Due to the size of the tumour Doctors advised her to have 6 months of Chemotherapy in the first instance, followed by a mastectomy. To date, she has now had six operations and numerous hospital stays owing to some complications after surgery. Owing to these complications, Radiation therapy – which will be daily for five weeks – was delayed for several months. She continues to have the Her2 protein receptor inhibitor Herceptin (trastuzamab), which will continue until March 2018, and this will be followed by 10 years of the Oestrogen receptor inhibitor tamoxifen.
Christine is very grateful for the love and support from family, friends and medical team throughout her journey.
Linda Fuller is a fit and healthy 38 year old, with two children ages 12 and 9, however in late 2016 after competing in a bodybuilding competition she was training and spotted a lump under her arm. It wasn’t sore and a similar one was not present under the other arm so went to her GP to have it checked. After a few tests she received the news on 4th November 2016 at age 37 she was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer, Oestrogen and progesterone +ve and Her2 -ve. On November 16th she had an initial lumpectomy and on January 17th started 4 rounds of Chemotherapy, which hit her particularly hard. Several hospital stays and many of side effects later, she then went on to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction at the end of March 2017, and has since started 10 years of hormone suppressing medication.
In August and September 2017 she had bilateral carpal tunnel surgeries on her hands due to the side-effects of the Chemotherapy drugs. She is now dealing with a fractured ankle and torn ligament which was exacerbated due to the Chemotherapy weakening her bones, however she is doing well and now hopefully Cancer free forever.
Joleen’s breast cancer was ER/PR +ve and Her2 –ve, and was also found in 4 of my lymph nodes. To date she has had 7 surgeries and has just completed over 6 months of Chemotherapy. She is still to have 5 weeks of Radiation therapy to go as well as 10 years of hormone treatment, as her cancer was hormone driven.
It has been a really tough year for Joleen, but with the support of family and friends she is continuing to push through and looking forward to a better 2018!
Michelle McCormack is currently an Enrolled Nurse at a local hospital, however upon diagnosis with Breast Cancer at the age of 28, with a 10-month old child, she suddenly found the roles reversed and herself being the patient.
Initially, the one lump Michelle found was mis-diagnosed as Fibroadenoma until a biopsy confirmed the cancer. Two more lumps were picked up on a mammogram. She was subsequently diagnosed with Stage III Multifocal Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, with 1 lymph node having an abnormal cluster of cells, but thankfully no further spread. Owing to the size of the tumour as well as the multiple lumps, a mastectomy was required. This was followed by 6 rounds of Chemotherapy which included the receptor blocker Herceptin, which was administered over the course of a year. After this, she had 25 Radiation sessions, and subsequently was put on three-monthly injections to suppress hormones.
All this meant that Michelle was put into medical menopause at 28, having lost her breast, hair, and possibility of having a younger sibling for her daughter – or so she thought! Having finished all treatment in 2013, and to her surprise, her body reverted back and she was able to naturally conceive her second child, a son.
She has since gone on to have her other breast removed, meaning that all up she has endured a total of 9 surgeries. Michelle says: “The thought of cancer returning never leaves you, but I am so thankful everyday. – I am a 7 year survivor and am getting to see my beautiful children grow up. I was so worried I would’ve missed out. This fundraiser is to help us help find a cure so no one has to go through what we have. To me, this is a great opportunity to give back.”
Earlier in 2017 her breast started getting extremely painful and she then noticed a lump. Subsequently on April 4th 2017, she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, after which she had a mastectomy and full axillary clearance.
Chevone’s Breast Cancer was a Stage III Triple Negative, Multifocal (2 tumours) and had also spread to 4 lymph nodes. As well as her surgery, she has subsequently had 16 doses of chemotherapy as well as 25 rounds of Radiation Therapy.