Cancer survivor Ros Newberry.
Cancer survivor Ros Newberry. Andrew Morgan

Women share their stories of battling cancer

WITH Gladstone revealed as a hotspot for women's cancers, three women share their stories about dealing with the disease.

Losing siblings was more painful

SHE felt isolated and overwhelmed with fear when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1985, but what rocked Ros Newberry was losing two of her siblings to the disease.

With no family history it was a shock to Mrs Newberry, her husband and two teenage children.

Now she volunteers to fundraise for a cure for the disease that has taken so much from her.

She said treatment, support and access to information had improved since then.

But her battle with cancer continued after she was given the all clear.

"(Losing) my eldest brother and youngest sister to cancer... was heartbreaking," she said.

"It's (cancer) taken a family of six down to two."

To support research and funding for a cure she volunteers as the vice-president of the Cancer Council Gladstone Branch and as the vice-president of the Relay for Life Gladstone committee.

She said services such as the Cancer Council helpline were useful tools to those who were diagnosed and their families.

"You'd never put your hand up for it (cancer) but when you do have it, you learn through it," she said.

Four of five siblings hit by cancer

KELSEY Kane has had cancer three times - breast cancer twice and also stage four ovarian cancer.

Four of her five siblings have been diagnosed too. Three brothers still battle the disease, and her sister died from cervical cancer. 

STRONG: Kelsey Kane is an ongoing supporter of the Cancer Council.
STRONG: Kelsey Kane is an ongoing supporter of the Cancer Council. Brenda Strong

Her family is the reason she is so heavily involved with the Cancer Council and participated in two ovarian cancer research studies.

"I jumped at the opportunity at doing the study," she said. "If they find something and it helps someone down the track then that's great.

"Surely they'll find a cure for it one day."

Ms Kane has had a double mastectomy and also a hysterectomy.

"It's hard to explain going through cancer. It's not like breaking an arm where you know you're going to get better."

The worst battle was with ovarian cancer.

She experienced nine months of weekly chemotherapy, during which she lost her hair and her taste buds.

"It was pretty horrific but we had to do it. My whole stomach, uterus and cervix were riddled with cancer," she said.

The first time the 69-year-old was diagnosed was in 1975.

"People just have to stay positive about the whole thing and be supportive of other people," she said.

Breast Buddies help deal with disease

FOR Colleen McDonald, Wednesday's Breast Buddies outing comes as a relief.

Colleen's story is common in the group, all having fought cancer.

"I had one lot of breast cancer six years ago at the age of 62," she said.

"It took my breast and my hair but not my life.

POSITIVE: Breast Buddies member Colleen McDonald.
POSITIVE: Breast Buddies member Colleen McDonald. Andrew Morgan

"During my treatment time I had wonderful support from my two sons and grandchildren."

The breast cancer survivor can't believe the generosity Stonestreets Coaches company is showing the group, by donating one of its 20-seat buses.

The chance to enjoy a day trip to Rockhampton means the world to Mrs McDonald and the 17 other survivors.

"We're used to giving and helping but to get something back in return is delightful," she said.

"What I'm looking forward to most is the chance to meet and chat with new survivors, forget our hardships and do as we please for the day."

The Breast Buddies group was created in 2000 by survivors Kelsey Kane and Kim Warner and gives others the opportunity to connect and support one another.

Kane said she was thrilled to have yet another company on board supporting the group and cause.

The day trip includes shopping, lunch and a trip to the gardens for afternoon tea.

There are three spots left for the trip.

If interested contact Kelsey Kane on 4979 3119.

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