Survivor joins relay for life

Collison’s Crew members Jodie Cox, Gaylene Last-Harris, Karina Chappell, Josie Hawkins, Claire Bentley and Dee Cunningham get ready for the Relay for Life.
Collison’s Crew members Jodie Cox, Gaylene Last-Harris, Karina Chappell, Josie Hawkins, Claire Bentley and Dee Cunningham get ready for the Relay for Life.

The St Stephen’s School Carramar librarian admitted the news should not have been entirely surprising because her oldest sister had breast cancer a few years earlier.

‘But you still think it won’t happen to you,’ she said.

‘I had a lumpectomy, a full course of chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. However, last month I got the all-clear from my doctor and I am now off all medication.’

Ms Bentley continued working in the library during her chemotherapy treatment, taking just a few days off, when she was feeling ‘particularly yuk’.

‘The staff and children at school were very supportive,’ she said.

‘Lots of kids wanted to see my bald head and tell me stories of their mums or grandmas who had cancer.

‘I think it helped the children to see someone working and looking OK, despite the cancer.’

Ms Bentley is still fighting cancer, but differently now. She is the team captain of Collinson’s Crew, which takes its name from the school library, which in turn is named after an early school principal, the Reverend Gavin Collinson.

St Stephen’s has entered three teams from its three campuses in the WA Cancer Council’s Joondalup Wanneroo Relay for Life, which will be held on October 19 and 20 at Arena Joondalup.

Funds raised before and during the 24-hour event will assist the council with its research and support programs.

‘We’ve been doing lots of different fundraising activities,’ Ms Bentley said.

More relay teams are needed for the relay.

To register or form a team, call 0497 384 486 or email |relayteamsjoondalupwanneroo @gmail.com