KATIE Hanson and Emma White share a story of survival; the pair both overcame breast cancer at a young age.
Ms Hanson and Ms White are two of three WA women selected to feature as ambassadors in the 2019 So Brave calendar.
So Brave raises funds for research, empowers young survivors, and increases awareness that young women can get breast cancer too.
Ms White was diagnosed at 24 after finding a lump on her sternum.
“I went to the doctor, and the doctor said ‘if you want to waste your money you can get an ultrasound, but you’re too young’,” she said.
The lump was breast cancer, and within the week Ms White was in surgery having a double mastectomy and starting six months of chemotherapy.
Ms White, now 28, had a reconstruction last year, and met Ms Hanson at breast physiotherapy.
“At this age, medical staff can’t seem to deal with it; when you meet other young women, you can speak to each other and check what’s going on,” she said.
Ms Hanson is a full-time working mum of two girls; she had always been told to start checking her breasts at the age of 40.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36 after finding an 8cm lump on her breast.
“Having to tell my daughters was the hardest day of my life; giving them support and security while entering something I wasn’t sure of what the outcome would be was a heartbreaking experience,” she said.
Like Ms White, Ms Hanson, now 38, was quickly placed into treatment, and is still going reconstructive surgery.
“Being alone I had to reach out for help with my children and having such wonderful family support was paramount to my recovery,” she said.
“Although it was the hardest couple of years of my life, I’ve learned so much and feel it’s time to start giving back.”
Ms White and Ms Hanson encouraged all women to ‘feel it on the fifth’ and check their breasts each month.
The So Brave calendar will feature young breast cancer survivors painted with body paint, and all net proceeds will go to breast cancer research and the McGrath Foundation.
The WA women will be painted in April for their photo shoot.
The calendar launches on September 22 at sobrave.com.au.