BCNA's Tax Appeal
Together, we can connect people so they feel less alone.
At some point on every breast cancer journey people feel alone. With the coronavirus impacting the way we all live our lives, those feelings can be amplified.
Meet some of the women we support. It’s for people like Keira, Aunty Josey and Ros that we have extended our Helpline service hours, developed specialised content for our My Journey online tool and recorded two special episodes of our podcast series Upfront during this challenging time.
We also continue to provide a safe space for active peer support on our online network, where people affected by breast cancer can share their experiences with others.
We won’t stop being here for Australians living with breast cancer.
Keira’s story - You are not too young to get a breast cancer diagnosis.
Young mum Keira was always hearing that she was ‘too young’.
"I was told, I wasn’t old enough for breast cancer. I wasn’t old enough for a mammogram. So when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 31, I was in complete shock."
The next 12 months were very stressful for the young family. Keira struggled working through her chemotherapy, not getting enough quality time with her children, and dealing with the unknown: she had many questions.
“Should I get another opinion? Is this the best treatment plan? I was so overwhelmed.”
BCNA’s support services were invaluable because it connected Keira with other women in a similar situation. They shared information about their mental health, fertility, financial concerns, body image, the complexities around childcare, and the impact their breast cancer diagnosis was having on their kids.
“It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that was important for my healing.”
Aunty Josey’s story - Breast cancer does not discriminate.
First Nations People Aunty Josey was doing a self-examination in the shower when she felt two lumps.
“I was referred to several different doctors – breast, sleep, heart, blood, breathing. Finally, I was diagnosed and booked in for an operation. The next eight months for me felt like I had a room at the hospital.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Summit
Aunty Josey first connected with BCNA through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Summit, where over 80 First Nations People came together to set a strategy. It was there that she received her My Journey online tool login, which proved to be very helpful during those early days of her diagnosis. Now Aunty Josey is part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group where she provides advice on the challenges facing First Nations breast cancer patients and survivors, and promotes the tool that help her on her journey.
We know that being connected to these trusted, free resources is vital, especially at this uncertain time when other services can be difficult to access and our health system is rapidly changing.
“There is a healing power in connecting with others, sharing my story and listening to theirs. I hope that in doing so, I can encourage people to self-check and to change the cultural stigma that exists in my community.”
For more information visit the My Journey Online tool.
Roslyn’s story - Navigating my new normal with the help of the online community.
“My diagnosis came as a shock. I had many questions – why me, why now, why can’t I feel a lump? – so I turned to BCNA’s online network for answers.”
BCNA’s online network helps to connect those with a similar diagnosis or those in the same phase of their breast cancer journey. Members are able to talk through many things – tests and results, treatments and side effects – offering a huge comfort to them.
“When treatment ended, my initial thought was ‘what now?’ I never heard from the clinic again and I was worried I’d be lost in the system. Post-cancer, everything was up in the air and I needed a new direction.”
The online community helped Roslyn with information about getting fit again after treatment and regaining a sense of self-worth, and it was a great way for her to get involved in the community again.
“Once again, the online network was there to help navigate my ‘new normal’. I could be myself and be honest with my feelings, and that was such a gift.”
To find out more about the online network, click the link.
And after this crisis has past, we will continue to be there to advocate for the very best care, treatment and support for those diagnosed with breast cancer and the people around them.
In 2020 it has been essential for us to train extra Helpline nurses and continually update information as it becomes available, which has put additional strain on BCNA’s resources. If you can, please consider making a tax deductible donation to help support us and those affected by breast cancer today.
If you need help or are worried about the impact of the Coronavirus call, 1800 500 258.