But the Silver Sands woman is not complaining.
She is still alive thanks to a vigilant doctor and the support of her long-term partner Russell Fry.
In December 2012, Ms McNeill was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
‘I was very lucky it was picked up,’ she said. ‘I just didn’t feel right and I knew something was wrong.’
Ms McNeill’s original pap smear results came back normal. Fortunately, her doctor referred her to a gynaecologist and a biopsy detected the cancer embedded deep in the tissue.
‘It was all very quick,’ Ms McNeill said. ‘I had surgery within five weeks.
‘This involved a radical hysterectomy and the removal of lymph nodes.’
Ms McNeill and Mr Fry have been together for about five years. The prospect of not being able to have children was devastating.
‘It went against all we were planning, but we had to put all of those emotions on the backburner,’ she said.
‘I had to focus on surviving and then getting better.’
Ms McNeill said the support of Mr Fry and her work colleagues at Bunnings had been ‘phenomenal’.
She now hopes to raise awareness about the importance of regular pap smears.
‘Five minutes of discomfort is far better for your peace of mind,’ she said.
‘My diagnosis was totally unexpected because I was so young.’
Ms McNeill wants to raise awareness of cancer in the community and to reduce the stigma surrounding some forms of cancer.
‘I will be completing a two-day 60km walk as part of the Weekend To End Women’s Cancer in March, and I’m hoping to raise as much awareness and donations as I can,’ she said.