CHRISTMAS is a time for rejoicing with family, but when Dawn Russell was diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t think she was going to see her family again.
The Rivervale resident first noticed small traces of blood in her stools in September 2014 and made the right decision to speak to her GP about it.
“He said he wanted to send me in for a colonoscopy and the results came back clear, but the doctor then told me there was a growth at the anal entrance and sent me to a surgeon,” she said.
“The decision was made to remove the growth, samples were sent off for a biopsy and the results came back in December – it was then they discovered I had anal cancer, which is quite rare.”
She said that up until the diagnosis she was not concerned because of her healthy, active lifestyle.
“I received a phone call from the doctor at 8pm and I was about to fly to Melbourne to see my parents for Christmas, and then I went into a state of shock,” she said.
“I heard the word cancer and I thought I was going to die, and was not sure whether I would see my family again.”
Fortunately for Ms Russell the surgeon said there were healthy cells surrounding the tumour and it had not spread to her lymphatic system. She said she went into seven weeks of daily radiotherapy and a week of chemotherapy.
“I am faring a lot better now and am six weeks post- treatment and visiting the hospital,” she said.
“My GP started me on a series of vitamin C infusions and that seems to be making the world of difference – I feel like my normal self again.
Ms Russell hopes to get back on her bike within weeks so she can take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in October.
She has sent an email to supporters and friends about her story and has already raised $8000, smashing her previous target of $5000.
The Ride to Cure Cancer is a two-day, 200km ride to raise funds for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, held on October 17 and 18.
If you would like to help Ms Russell raise funds to fight cancer you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org