THREE years ago, Pauline Gately found out she had stage two breast cancer two days before her daughter’s 10th birthday.
“One of the biggest concerns was figuring out how to tell my daughter I had breast cancer,” Ms Gately said.
“I can honestly say I’ve never felt more alone than those first few minutes after receiving the news.
“I went through six surgeries, I had a reconstructive bi-lateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and I take medication every day for five years – one doesn’t get the all-clear from breast cancer for a long time.”
Now on the Breast Cancer Care WA (BCCWA) board, Ms Gately said she did not know what help was available until her second-last surgery.
“I wish I’d known about BCCWA earlier – it’s the counselling, the support groups, the help to do housework and help to pay utility bills,” she said.
“From the moment you’re diagnosed, the medical care is so well taken care of and each person’s cancer journey develops in a different way, but for many families, the medical and emotional turmoil means they can’t put Christmas presents under the tree.”
A real estate agent from Sorrento, Ms Gately said she could not drive for 3-4 weeks after her double mastectomy.
“I had to depend on the kindness of other mums to get my daughter to school and back and things like shopping were difficult,” she said.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be part of the organisation – the work they do is simply amazing.
“They don’t get government funding, they’re a small team and that steeled my resolve to get the word out there.”
BCCWA will host its first Spring Day at the Races fundraiser event at Ascot Racecourse on November 14.
Tickets include canapés, fashions on the field, race books, champagne, access to raffles and a silent auction.
Visit here for details.