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Being diagnosed at 22, my family feared the worst.

- by Stephanie

I was 12 years old when I lost my mum to breast cancer. Together, my family and I saw how cruel cancer can be. So, when I was diagnosed myself at age 22, my family feared the worst.

Being only 22, I was ready to do what needed to be done. My dad, having watched my mum go through it, couldn’t bring himself to come to my chemotherapy sessions, let alone say the words ‘chemo’ or ‘cancer’. My partner, who had never seen anyone sick before, put aside his fears and stepped up to support me. Taking time off work to look after me, he came to chemotherapy sessions and appointments. 

It wasn’t easy on me or any of my family. We were scared but we stuck together and helped each other through it day by day. It has now been nearly three years since I was first diagnosed. Over those three years, I have been through fertility egg freezing, induced menopause, chemotherapy and seven surgeries, including a double mastectomy and reconstruction. With all the precautions I’ve taken, I have a great prognosis.

My partner and I recently got married, sneaking in the wedding just before COVID-19 hit with a beautiful wedding on the beach, followed by an amazing honeymoon in the Maldives. Lucky for me, I’ve married my number one support system.

COVID-19 was a bit of a scare when it hit, because it hadn’t been that long since I’d been through chemo and surgeries. I have been taking all precautions to make sure I stay healthy and clear from the virus. One of the hardest things throughout the pandemic is that I have had to go to all my appointments all by myself. It’s been really hard not being able to have a support person with me.

It was one day when I was googling questions and struggling to find answers that I came across BCNA. They had the answers to lots of my questions. I was able to attend information sessions and watch webinars, bringing back information for my family, which helped to ease their minds. I also met some lovely people through BCNA. It is a beautiful network, where people come together who can relate and support each other.

You can also see Stephanie as part of this year's Pink Bun campaign.

Australians can support the Pink Bun campaign by visiting their local Bakers Delight store between 8 - 28 October to purchase a Pink Bun or make a donation. This year, for the first time, there is also an opportunity to buy a Virtual Pink Bun online and send a message of support to family and friends to brighten their day and support Australians and their loved ones affected by breast cancer.