HAVING lost her best friend to breast cancer and watched her mum battle ovarian cancer, it’s no wonder Ingrid Michell is driven to help.
The Currambine registered nurse, who works at Joondalup Health Campus, is hosting a Pink Ribbon fundraising afternoon tea for Cancer Council WA on Saturday in honour of them both.
Mrs Michell and friend Tracy Ross both nursed in Tasmania, working on the same cardiothoracic unit for years.
“When we both got of age we decided to plan to have our children around the same time so that we could bring up our kids together,” she said.
“We had two sons both within a couple of months of each other and so both of our sons are about the same age.
“We just spent all of out time together and then unfortunately due to my husband’s work I had to move interstate so I moved to Perth and she got diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She just had an itch she went to scratch and noticed a little lump and had the breast cancer diagnosed but unfortunately it had already spread into her lymph nodes.
“Sadly enough she didn’t have a long fight with it and died in 2012 at the age of 44.”
After many recurrences of ovarian cancer in her body, her mum Margaret Playsted was given 12 months to live.
“Here she is 12 years later and she’s 72 and actually still works as a nurse; she pulled through,” Mrs Michell said.
“They decided to give her one last go of chemotherapy and tried a new chemotherapy that had only just been put out (back then) and her body responded to it which, for her oncologist, was a miracle.
“He’s only got three women in all his years who survived (ovarian cancer) 20 years. A lot of people given a timeframe come to my mum and she talks to them about her battle and never giving up.”
Mrs Michell said her own experiences and those of her patients diagnosed with cancers really “hit home” and realising how lucky she was made her want to help raise awareness of breast and gynaecological cancers, as well as funds to support others.
“Hopefully, if I can maybe let them know Tracy’s story and how that lump was found and maybe women who just put things aside and aren’t proactive with their health will get on top of it and have their mammograms,” she said.
“A lot of women don’t realise that ovarian cancer can’t be picked up on a pap smear; it has to be an ovarian ultrasound and they also don’t know the symptoms.”
She will charge a $5 entry fee and will hold a silent auction and raffle to raise funds. Donations of goods or services for them would be appreciated and anyone who can help should call 0410 129 572.