Sur­vivor rides again for can­cer funds

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Opinion -

CHRIST­MAS is a time for re­joic­ing with fam­ily, but when Dawn Rus­sell was di­ag­nosed with can­cer, she didn’t think she was go­ing to see her fam­ily again.

The River­vale res­i­dent first no­ticed small traces of blood in her stools in Septem­ber 2014 and made the right de­ci­sion to speak to her GP about it.

“He said he wanted to send me in for a colonoscopy and the re­sults came back clear, but the doc­tor then told me there was a growth at the anal en­trance and sent me to a sur­geon,” she said.

“The de­ci­sion was made to re­move the growth, sam­ples were sent off for a biopsy and the re­sults came back in De­cem­ber – it was then they dis­cov­ered I had anal can­cer, which is quite rare.”

She said that up un­til the di­ag­no­sis she was not con­cerned be­cause of her healthy, ac­tive lifestyle.

“I re­ceived a phone call from the doc­tor at 8pm and I was about to fly to Mel­bourne to see my par­ents for Christ­mas, and then I went into a state of shock,” she said.

“I heard the word can­cer and I thought I was go­ing to die, and was not sure whether I would see my fam­ily again.”

For­tu­nately for Ms Rus­sell the sur­geon said there were healthy cells sur­round­ing the tu­mour and it had not spread to her lym­phatic sys­tem. She said she went into seven weeks of daily ra­dio­ther­apy and a week of chemo­ther­apy.

“I am far­ing a lot bet­ter now and am six weeks post­treat­ment and vis­it­ing the hos­pi­tal,” she said.

“My GP started me on a se­ries of vi­ta­min C in­fu­sions and that seems to be mak­ing the world of dif­fer­ence – I feel like my nor­mal self again.

Ms Rus­sell hopes to get back on her bike within weeks so she can take part in the Ride to Con­quer Can­cer in Oc­to­ber.

She has sent an email to sup­port­ers and friends about her story and has al­ready raised $8000, smash­ing her pre­vi­ous tar­get of $5000.

The Ride to Cure Can­cer is a two-day, 200km ride to raise funds for the Harry Perkins In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search, held on Oc­to­ber 17 and 18.

If you would like to help Ms Rus­sell raise funds to fight can­cer you can email her at dawn@heart­ware­

Dawn Rus­sell said she went into a state of shock when she heard the word can­cer.

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