Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith celebrates finishing chemo. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.
Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith celebrates finishing chemo. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.

Tannum Sands mum’s cancer battle inspires fun run

A Tannum Sands woman is using her own battle experiencing breast cancer and a mastectomy as the driving force behind her town’s Mother’s Day Classic fun run.

Christmas was approaching when mother of two Jess Smith and her husband Mark got the shocking news she had been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2018.

But the school teacher tackled the potentially life-and-death battle head-on for her family.

“I had breast cancer, diagnosed in November 2, 2018 and it was inflammatory breast cancer,” Jess said.

“Initially they were going to start with a mastectomy, then they sent me for a scan and they found 10 masses.”

Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith celebrates completing radiation treatment. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.
Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith celebrates completing radiation treatment. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.

Before undergoing the daunting mastectomy surgery, Mrs Smith underwent some chemotherapy treatment, then had a few weeks break.

Five weeks of radiation treatment followed the lifesaving mastectomy surgery.

Exactly a year after her initial diagnosis, Mrs Smith had mastectomy surgery to remove her cancerous breast tissue on November 2, 2019.

After such a physically and mentally gruelling ordeal, Mrs Smith said it took her a while until she felt good enough to return to work.

“I still do get tired a lot, but I am back working full-time now,” she said.

“It was definitely a tough year and I had to do radiation in Brisbane to be close to family.”

“I did go occasionally back on weekends; it was very tough.

“My girls missed me.”

It was through her journey battling cancer Mrs Smith said she discovered the Mother’s Day Classic MDC.

“My first MDC was in 2019, when I was going through everything,” she said.

“I Had heard of it, but when I was going through treatment, I wanted to have a go.”

Inspired by the cause, when the opportunity arose, Mrs Smith said she decided to host the fun run at Tannum Sands.

“After MDC in 2019, the host decided to step away from hosting and she put the word out and I decided to take it on,” she said.

“I wanted to give back to the community.”

The Mother’s Day Classic has donated almost $38 million over the past 24 years to fund 76 breast cancer research projects.

Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith with her daughters Charlotte, 7, and Heidi, 4. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.
Tannum Sands mother Jess Smith with her daughters Charlotte, 7, and Heidi, 4. After battling breast cancer Mrs Smith has organised the Mother's Day Classic at Tannum Sands. Picture: contributed.

Entrants can walk, run or jog 5km, 10km, 20km or nominate their own distance.

There are 75 locations nationwide where people can join others on a designated route in their local areas to walk, run or jog the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic on Sunday, May 9, and get active for breast cancer research.

“It is fantastic to have so many locations across the country where people can connect with the MDC community and take part in the event together on Mother’s Day in a COVID-safe manner,” Mother's Day Classic CEO Zara Lawless said.

“Due to the ever-changing climate we live in and the restrictions on public gatherings, participation numbers are capped at each location, so it is imperative that people book their spot and choose their MDC location of choice prior to Mother’s Day.”

Visit www.mothersdayclassic.com.au for information and to book your entry.

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