IT is almost a year ago to the day Louanne Callaghan discovered a lump on her breast.
Within a week she was booked in for surgery.
Now, after 12 months of treatment, she is gearing up for a new challenge – the Walk for Women’s Cancer.
She will be one of the many women tackling the 30km or 42km walks on May 5 to raise money for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
The Thornlie resident said she will be accompanied on her walk by a special item of clothing: a cape, handmade by her mother, who has also battled breast cancer.
“Everybody who has donated to my cause, I’m giving them the opportunity to give me the names of the people who in their life who have suffered from cancer and my mum is going to embroider the names in the cape,” she said.
Mrs Callaghan said she was inspired to do the walk by a friend and fellow survivor and was excited to be walking alongside her and her friends, the Southern Forest Steppers, a team of walkers based in Manjimup.
“A friend of mine had breast cancer and she’d been a survivor for three years and she had done the walk last year,” she said.
“When it came up this year I though ‘I’m gonna do that’ for two reasons. One, to raise money for the Harry Perkins Institute and secondly, to give me a focus to get my fitness back.
“It’s good to have people encourage you, even if it’s just on Facebook and have people to walk with on the day.”
Despite undergoing a double mastectomy soon after her diagnosis, Mrs Callaghan said she had remained positive throughout the past year and attributed it to her mother’s past experience.
“The whole time going through the operation and the chemo, I was waiting for it to hit me and it didn’t,” she said.
“I think I cried twice and that was for not even five minutes, I sort of remained pretty upbeat and happy.”
Mrs Callaghan said her cancer battle had brought her and husband John closer as it had encouraged them to communicate more openly.
“When I was diagnosed, we actually sat down and said ‘This is going to be hard. If you want something, don’t get cranky, just ask.’ I don’t think we ever argued,” she said.
Her husband said it was also important for the partners to speak out about seeing their spouse struggle with cancer.
“The best advice I could give to any male who is a partner of the wife that gets breast cancer, you need to get together with other males and talk about it. It’ll destroy you otherwise,” he said.
If you would like to donate to Mrs Callaghan’s campaign, you can donate to the fundraising page at https://hawaiian-walk-2018.everydayhero.com/au/louanne.