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Barb

When you first hear those words 'It's cancer' your world stops. Fear, rational and irrational thoughts, and cancer are at the forefront of your mind... Cindy my support person, has and still walks alongside me, calming my fears, answering my questions, and providing hope.

Barb
barb irwin

In the past, I have been a member of a team participating in The Relay for Life at Rugby Park, Invercargill. No matter what the weather threw at us, it was always a fun occasion, but also sobering with the survivor’s march and the remembrance candles flickering at night, but it was for a good “cause”.

These may seem naive words and I was naive, but that all changed when I was diagnosed with 2 separate primary cancers, one in September and the other on Christmas Eve.

When you first hear those words “It's cancer” your world stops. Fear, rational and irrational thoughts, and cancer are at the forefront of your mind. When we left the specialist, we were in shock and had processed very little of the meeting other than to fill in consent forms for immediate surgery.  

After sleepless nights and so many questions unanswered, I walked in trepidation into our Invercargill branch of the Cancer Society. It was a surreal moment as I didn’t know if I belonged, I didn’t look like that person in the movies with cancer, I felt really well and it was hard to accept, let alone voice, that I had cancer and I was scared.

It's hard to put into words that show my true appreciation and gratitude for the support my Partner and I have received since that day. Cindy my support person, has and still walks alongside me, calming my fears, answering my questions, and providing hope.

Many opportunities are available in my branch to mix and socialize and seek support and information from others who are on their own journey. For me, this involved an Art Therapy & Craft Class, a Support Group, the “Look Good, Feel Better” day, and massages from local S.I.T students.

Nationally, the organization goes into battle for us advocating for better and fairer treatment, raising awareness, providing education, and funding research…the list is endless. 

Like us, I think anyone diagnosed with cancer will tell you it is financially challenging and made especially harder if you live rurally and/or require treatment in another centre.  Again, the Cancer Society supported my Partner and me with free accommodation in Dunedin for many weeks at Daffodil House, a home away from home with everything provided and support given in abundance by staff and fellow patients.  

For the past two years, Covid has negatively impacted hugely on fundraising activities for the Cancer Society including the Relay for Life now Relay Your Way. To all of you who are participating, organizing, or donating for this activity, but also to all staff, volunteers and kind individuals whose generosity through knitting, quilt making, baking and many other thoughtful ways support and lift us on our journey… thank you so much… you make a difference.