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Celebrating Brave Women this Mother's Day

Celebrating Brave Women this Mother's Day

Ahead of Mother's Day this year, we are spotlighting some brave warriors who have shared their powerful stories with us. Unfortunately, it seems everybody knows a woman who has received a cancer diagnosis, whether it be your mum, grandma, aunty, friend, partner, cousin or colleague.

No two cancer stories are the exactly same, but sharing them can do SO much to make other warriors feel less alone and more connected to the strength and resilience found within the Bravery Co. community. I am constantly in awe and always inspired by the amazing women around me, but particularly those who have taken on the physical and emotional adversities that come with a diagnosis with incredible grit and bravery.

So, here are three special stories, told by Bravery Warriors themselves, that connect to the theme of Motherhood.


Kat's Story

My name is Kat, I’m 40 years young and I underwent a gruelling 17 hour surgery to remove an ameloblastic carcinoma from my jaw.

When I was 8 months pregnant, it was found during dental check ups. After Oscar’s birth, a few specialist appointments, a biopsy and a rapidly growing golf ball in my jaw, I remember sitting in the surgeons office being told I’d need major surgery and a four week stay in hospital. I looked at my two week old breastfed baby and wondered, how the f*ck is this going to work!?

With a high supply and such a long surgery, I was told I would have to stop my milk supply. It nearly broke me. More than the realisation of surgery. I attended counselling at Mercy Hospital, picked up my cabergoline and had to say goodbye to something I cherished. Oscar was a trooper and took a bottle instantly.

After my surgery which turned into two surgeries to remove further margins, I started my stay at Austin where I only had 1 hour a day with my baby and couldn’t properly hold him thanks to two drainage tubes and a breathing tube. I looked like a bad snapchat filter, swollen and unrecognisable. Not being able to hold Oscar or be left alone with him was the hardest part, but also spurred me on to heal as fast as I could to get home to my munchkin. My team decided against any further treatment. Instead opting for yearly scans and appointments to keep an eye on things.

Fast forward 6 years and I’ve now had my second son Darcy. One of the best things to have come out of my diagnosis was my resilience and determination to be there for my boys. I don’t know why I was dealt the shitty C-card, but I know that it has made me a stronger person.


Sarah's Story 

Hi, I'm Sarah, I'm 46 and I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer (ductal in situ).

I had a benign lump 20 years ago in the same breast, but it became a bit painful, not like my usual exercise soreness. I was diagnosed during the most stressful two years of my life while being whacked by parent illnesses, pet illness, financial stress, IVF failure. It was beyond overwhelming.

I know a lot of people in Cancer research. I've tried not to google and instead let their knowledge of biology, treatments, and side effects guide me. Cancer taught me it’s ok to ask for help - my support network has been amazing. From filling my freezer to helping post-surgery, to encouraging messages that hit in all the right places. And never discount the effectiveness of doggy cuddles in your hardest moments!

I have health cover but there has been a fair bit of financial cost, possibly because I’m under 50 - ask your specialist to request to bulk bill when referring you as it could save some financial stress. I'd like people to know younger women can have breast cancer (20% are under 40), and a few I know were diagnosed while pregnant or breastfeeding. They're often told a lump is likely a blocked milk duct, with a delay in diagnosis progressing their situation. If you find a lump while pregnant/breastfeeding, advocate for yourself. It could be nothing, or could make all the difference.

My diagnosis ended my 2+ years of IVF and began menopause, so there has been grief to process. I have a counsellor and can’t tell you how much it helps to have someone to get all that stuff out to. Cancer has made me think about what motherhood would've meant for me, and how can I achieve some of those things in other ways. My goddaughter and her sister mean a lot to me, so I’m hoping to take them on adventures and support them through their studies. I'm also going to host international high school students to help them have a great experience studying here. My brother and his family live in Japan and I'd love to be more involved in their lives. While I might not be a biological mother, I can be a role model, a hugger, a cheerleader and many other things that ‘motherhood’ can mean.

I finished treatment in December of last year. I've gone back to swing dancing after a 20 year hiatus, I'm doing hot yoga and feeling strong. There is a time after treatment where your body will feel better if you treat yourself well and prioritise things that make you feel good.

Leanne's Story 

My name is Leanne and I am a 56. My cancer journey started with feeling a small swollen lymph gland in my neck.

I felt it was getting bigger so went to the GP and, after various tests, on 26/8/22, was found to be cancerous. I couldn’t believe I had cancer as I had felt completely normal.

My world had just shattered and I felt all of my control had been taken away.After a tonsillectomy and then a neck dissection, to remove 27 lymph nodes, it was eventually found that I had a very rare synovial sarcoma attached to the carotid artery in my neck. Apparently a “1 in a million” type of cancer.

Proudly, I completed 7 weeks of radiation and 4 months/6 sessions of chemotherapy, each one of the 6 sessions involved a 3 day admission. This taught me to just take 1 day at a time!

I shaved my hair off as it started to come out by the handful and oddly enough, it was both devastating and a relief to do it. Losing my eyebrows and eyelashes upset me the most, as I felt it really made me look like a cancer patient. But I embraced wearing beautiful scarves and putting on makeup to make me feel better, even if I was just going to radiation.

I had great support throughout my treatment and I had to learn to say ‘’yes’’ to offers of help.Walking along the beach in the early mornings, watching the sunrise, got me through both mentally and physically throughout this time and now. I used to think that my body had failed me by getting cancer, but now I am amazed at how I have mostly healed and become so strong. Not having my taste back and radiation side effects are my new normal.

An incompletely excised tumour, has resulted in a 60% chance it will return - this is the part I’m still learning to live with. Each 3 monthly scan feels like playing Russian roulette. I am very lucky to be treated by the amazing team at Peter MacCallum hospital.

Cancer has taught me to be truly grateful and appreciative with my life and I am especially grateful for being a mum to our three beautiful children and a very proud grandparent.


If you have a story you would like to share with our community, we would love to hear from you. Please email to be interviewed. 

Support cancer warriors by shopping our range of gorgeous scarves, with $2 from every scarf sold donated to cancer research at Peter Mac. 

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