My twin sister and I are adopted, so we have no information on our family’s medical history. But the cancer Louise has is not hereditary anyway.
And there’s no blood connection between the four women in my family who’ve been affected by cancer. My adoptive mum died of lung cancer one month after diagnosis. My mother in law and stepmother died about 15 months after their diagnosis, from cervical and stomach cancer.
And Louise has uterine cancer. She’s defied the doctors by surviving this long, and it’s meant we’ve been able to tick things off her bucket list. She’s seen her daughter graduate uni, we visited Queensland where we spent many childhood holidays, and she made it to my son’s wedding. These were the things she wanted to do.
You’d think so much loss would make you want to curl up in a ball, but it has made me stronger and realise life is precious. Having gone through it as many times as I have it’s made me stronger. With mum I was completely devastated, an absolute wreck. I was more able to be there for my mother in law and my step mum. And I was with all three of them when they passed.
I'm taking part in the Cancer Council’s Relay For Life this year along with my workmates from VEC and our parent company Downer in Tasmania. Many people in our Downer Tassie family have been affected by cancer, and that’s one of the reasons Downer is a major sponsor of Relay for Life.
Families rely on the service provided by Cancer Council Tasmania. The transport is such a big help. With my mother in law, we were relying on family and friends to take her for treatment every day – we had to set up a roster to cover treatment periods of 6 weeks at a time. At that time, we didn’t have a transport service on the north west coast.
I’m happy to be raising money for Cancer Council Tasmania so they can continue to provide this support to other Tasmanian families affected by cancer.
I’ve had that special twin bond with Louise all my life, and I know that when she goes a part of me will too. I will be Relaying for Louise, and for all the women in my life who have been taken by cancer.