Concongella Primary School principal Kristie Miller was saving to build her dream house, but breast cancer treatments and COVID-19 ruined her hopes.
The single mother was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 24 after doctors discovered a series of small tumours on her left breast.
"Doctors discovered four tumours, the biggest was 17mm," Ms Miller said.
"I developed a lump in early February and by that stage the tumour had grown to the size of a fist ... it was quite aggressive."
In February, Ms Miller had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, the treatment unfortunately didn't remove all of the cancer.
"I then had a full mastectomy and lymph node clearance on my left breast," she said.
"Six weeks later I started chemo ... The first chemo was horrible and it made me very ill."
A few years ago, Ms Miller had to sell her house during a separation - she started dreaming of building a new home in Pomonal with her seven-year-old son Quinn.
"I bought land three years ago and had it ready to go ... then the breast cancer hit," she said.
"Money started walking out the door and all of the savings I had accrued to build the house went towards medical procedures.
"I have private health insurance but the out-of-pocket expenses were enormous.
"I also had an investment account for my savings, but because of the COVID crash I lost $8000 in one day."
Grampians rock climbing company Hangin Out hosted 'Climb for Kristie Day' on Tuesday at Summerday Valley to raise funds for Ms Miller.
Hangin Out owner Daniel Earl said the event raised $1150 for Ms Miller's GoFundMe campaign, which has now obtained a total of $8420.
"Kristie is a great friend and I have worked with her to provide rock climbing and abseiling services for the primary school kids," he said.
"I recently lost my stepfather to cancer and I saw an opportunity to do something for Kristie.
"As a business operator it is good to give back when you can."
Ms Miller said the fundraiser was a "fantastic" event and she was grateful for the community support.
"I even got in a sneaky abseil which I technically wasn't supposed to do," she said.
"My son Quinn also came and it was the first time he had been rock climbing.
"The kindness and love has been beautiful from the community. People have dropped off food, colouring books and beautiful flowers from their garden."
Ms Miller will endure eight more weeks of chemotherapy. She said the doctors were optimistic the treatment would remove the remaining cancer.
"My hair has started to grow back and I am slowly regaining my physical strength," she said.
"I travel to Ballarat for medical treatments and I am fortunate to have a supportive mum.
"She drives me up and down and looks after me when I am not well.
Ms Miller said the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented her from having visitors and in-person support.
"It's a weird environment to navigate already and COVID-19 makes it a little more daunting," she said.
"Chemo knocks your immune system around and the chances of me getting COVID-19 are higher which has been a bit scary."
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