RUNNING and family became Stacey White’s therapy during her fight against breast cancer.
In the two years since her diagnosis, she’s not only continued that fight – but she’s defied the doctors and participated in marathons in Adelaide and Melbourne amid surgery, chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.
Ms White was guest speaker at Horsham’s Mother’s Day Classic on Sunday. The annual eight-kilometre run and four-kilometre walk along the Wimmera River raises money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
“Chemo was, and continues to be, the toughest,” she said. “I try to stay strong and hide the pain from my family and friends and sometimes that’s pretty hard.
“I know exactly how it feel to cry in the shower so no-one else can hear.
“I know what it’s like to wait for everyone to fall asleep so you can fall apart.
“I know the pain of hurting so bad you want it all to end. But I also know I’m stronger than what I’m fighting.”
Ms White called on people to check their breasts for abnormalities.
“I’ve learned that you can’t outrun cancer … (and) cancer does not look and feel the same on everyone,” she said.
“I learned that you will look fear the eye several times – and only you can decide how to handle that.
“(I learned) that you will gain more strength from your weakest days and everything good in life hurts a little.
“I’ve learned it’s just as much a physical fight as it is defeating the voice inside your hear that sometimes wants to quit. Cancer has taught me that life is not a given. Every single bad day is better than no day at all.”
She implored those fighting cancer to find strength.
“I know you’re tired, you’re fed up, you’re at breaking point. But there is strength within you when you feel weak. You need to find that strength and you need to fight like hell,” she said.
Breast cancer survivor Janine English said her involvement on the committee was a way to help others.
“In a way, for me, this hopefully raises funds so people don’t have to go through what I’ve gone through,” she said.
For fellow committee member Jackie Exell, it started out as a fitness goal.
“My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. She had breast cancer in 1975 and she’s just turned 92,” she said. “It got us talking about it more than anything. It happened just before myself and my cousins were born.”
Monica Anderson, of Horsham, was participating in her first Mother’s Day Classic and raised $363.40.
Nationally, the event has raised $30.4 million and funded more than 30 breast cancer research projects across Australia since 1998.