MEET OUR 2016 MUM OF THE YEAR, Far­rah Mil­lar

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

An in­spir­ing story from a mum who went above and be­yond for her fam­ily and com­mu­nity

Chil­dren are the best distraction. See­ing them makes me for­get what’s go­ing on

Far­rah, 37, was di­ag­nosed with breast cancer 18 hours af­ter giv­ing birth, and is us­ing her story to en­cour­age all women to self-check their breasts

Far­rah had al­ways dreamed of hav­ing a fam­ily. Af­ter try­ing to con­ceive nat­u­rally, she and her part­ner turned to IVF but were sadly un­suc­cess­ful. Fac­ing the re­al­i­sa­tion that hav­ing a bi­o­log­i­cal child might not be an option, the pair ap­plied to be­come fos­ter par­ents, but were turned down be­cause they had no ex­pe­ri­ence. Re­mark­ably, af­ter these frus­trat­ing and heart-break­ing set­backs, Far­rah fell preg­nant nat­u­rally with her daugh­ter, Lehnae, and soon af­ter added to her fam­ily with son, Rhy­lan, born ear­lier this year.

Just as Far­rah was given the fam­ily she had al­ways dreamed of, she was dealt a blow while still re­cov­er­ing from her labour. Only 18 hours af­ter the birth of her son, Far­rah was di­ag­nosed with stage three breast cancer. Re­fus­ing to let the dis­ease get the bet­ter of her, she wanted to fo­cus all her ef­forts on be­ing the best mum to her young chil­dren, as well as seek­ing treat­ment for the dis­ease. “Hav­ing chil­dren is the best distraction. I have to get up and look af­ter them. See­ing their lit­tle faces makes me for­get what is re­ally go­ing on,” she says.

To doc­u­ment her jour­ney, and keep her con­cerned fam­ily and friends up to date with her treat­ment, Far­rah cre­ated a Face­book group called #Far­rah­sArmy, which de­tailed her ex­pe­ri­ences and thoughts and ad­vo­cated for other women to get their breasts checked reg­u­larly. Af­ter an ar­ti­cle about her group was pub­lished on­line, Far­rah has seen a steady in­crease of women who have joined the group to seek her ad­vice and give their sup­port on­line. Far­rah was shocked and de­lighted to have been se­lected as the 2016 Mum of the Year. “To have been crowned Mum of the Year by Mother & Baby is in­de­scrib­able, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing I’ve done noth­ing but sec­ond guess my ‘mum­ming’ abil­i­ties since Rhy­lan came along and I was thrown into the cancer sphere!” she says. “In fact, any mother who goes above and be­yond on a daily ba­sis, whether giv­ing up her free cho­co­late with her soy chai to her

tod­dler, or for­go­ing a shower in the evening to make sure the wash­ing is done so her son has footy shorts the next day – ev­ery Mum who her puts her chil­dren first and her­self sec­ond is a Mum of the Year in my eyes.”

As part of her prize, Far­rah has won a $5000 gift cer­tifi­cate from Ba­bies”R”Us for her chil­dren, which she re­quested be split evenly between her­self and the four other fi­nal­ists. “Hon­estly, I am so hon­oured and grate­ful. I was blown away by the love and de­vo­tion ex­hib­ited in each of the other fi­nal­ists. In my eyes we are all Mum of the Year – es­pe­cially to our chil­dren. Christ­mas is not far away and with my chil­dren cel­e­brat­ing their birth­days early next year, I can’t wait to buy them each some­thing spe­cial with the voucher,” she says. “It’s such a gen­er­ous prize and I’m so grate­ful

I could not have sur­vived with­out my fam­ily’s love

to Mother & Baby and Ba­bies”R”Us for mak­ing it avail­able to my­self and the four other fam­i­lies. I hope they all have a won­der­ful Christ­mas, too!”

As part of her treat­ment, Far­rah is about to un­dergo a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy to give her the best chance at beat­ing the cancer. “I could not have sur­vived the past five months with­out the love and sup­port of my amaz­ing friends and fam­ily. I’ve re­ceived so many thought­ful and use­ful gifts! My mother and sis­ter have es­pe­cially put them­selves out to be here for me re­gard­less of the dis­tance between us, and my friend Caro­line has been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing me fill my freezer with meals, get fundrais­ing un­der­way and get all my chores done. An­other friend, Ellen, started a Go Fund Me page to help me with all the ex­tra ex­penses and I’m so grate­ful to ev­ery­one who has do­nated. Even com­plete strangers have con­tacted me through the #Far­rah­sArmy page to leave a kind word, do­nate meals and give me chemo-friendly gift packs filled with lol­lies, lo­tions and warm socks. There are not enough words for me to thank all of the peo­ple who have been there for me, as well as Mother &

Baby mag­a­zine for the gen­er­ous prize. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

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