City unites in can­cer fight

Re­lay for Life de­liv­ers mes­sage

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - JANESSA EKERT janessa.ekert@news.com.au

CLAIRE Mitchell is still com­ing to terms with her can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

In May she was told she has the very rare medullary thy­roid can­cer.

“It was a bit of shock,” the Cairns North woman said.

“I’d had some symp­toms for a while and was try­ing to fig­ure out what was wrong with me. A very good doc­tor picked it up, luck­ily for me.

“I’m still in the process of get­ting treat­ment and oper­a­tions. It’s a jour­ney.”

Ms Mitchell took part in Sat­ur­day night’s Cairns Re­lay For Life for the first time to raise aware­ness.

Also tak­ing part in the walk for the first time, as part of the Pink Phoenix Group, was Fresh­wa­ter’s Sue Dun­das.

In Septem­ber 2015 Ms Dun­das was di­ag­nosed with stage two breast can­cer, which had spread to her first lymph nodes.

She needed six rounds of che­mother­apy and a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy.

“My can­cer was di­ag­nosed at a rou­tine mam­mo­gram,” she said. • The Cairns Re­lay For Life is an 18-hour event. • Be­side the track were 470 daf­fodils rep­re­sent­ing the 470 Far North Queens­land lives lost to can­cer since last year’s Re­lay For Life event. • In the last 12 months, 1430 Far North Queens­lan­ders have been di­ag­nosed with some form of can­cer.

“It was pretty dev­as­tat­ing … quite a shock to the sys­tem.

“I’ve fin­ished all my treat­ment now, I’ve just re­turned to work and I’m en­joy­ing life again.”

The 2017 Cairns Re­lay for Life event at Bar­low Park kicked off with the sur­vivors and car­ers walk at 2.45pm on Sat­ur­day. The event fin­ished at 9am yes­ter­day.

“We had 107 teams reg­is­tered this year,” said Cairns Re­lay For Life event man­ager Christina French.

This year’s aim for Cairns was to raise $220,000.

“When I checked last night, I haven’t checked to­day. Last time I checked, we were at $175,000,” Ms French said. “But we banked $15,000 yes­ter­day alone. I’m re­ally con­fi­dent that we’re go­ing to hit our tar­get.”

Both Ms Mitchell and Ms Dun­das want to raise aware­ness for the cause.

“I also just wanted to raise aware­ness for the Can­cer Coun­cil,” Ms Mitchell said.

“They’ve been re­ally bril­liant to me.

Ms Mitchell said she had been wor­ried par­tic­i­pat­ing in the walk would dredge up feel­ings of sad­ness. “But it’s a re­ally good vibe,” she said.

Ms Dun­das said: “It’s very ex­cit­ing to see so many peo­ple out there sup­port­ing us and sup­port­ing the cause.”

WHEN I CHECKED LAST NIGHT, I HAVEN’T CHECKED TO­DAY, WE WERE AT $175,000. BUT WE BANKED $15,000 YES­TER­DAY ALONE. I’M RE­ALLY CON­FI­DENT THAT WE’RE GO­ING TO HIT OUR TAR­GET.

CQUniversity’s unique vi­sion for di­ver­sity, out­reach, en­gage­ment, re­search, learn­ing and teach­ing, and in­clu­sive­ness, com­bined with its growth as­pi­ra­tions and ex­pan­sion of stu­dent suc­cess have led to it be­ing recog­nised as one of the top 500 uni­ver­si­ties in the world. CQUniversity is be­ing called upon to ex­pand its pres­ence in Cairns and the Far North to cre­ate a cam­pus pres­ence that specif­i­cally de­liv­ers on the unique re­quire­ments of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and in­dus­try. Since es­tab­lish­ing a pres­ence in Cairns only five years ago, CQUniversity has grown ex­po­nen­tially, with over 1000 cur­rent stu­dents and em­ploy­ing more than 140 lo­cals. CQUniversity has in­vested heav­ily in the re­gion and has now iden­ti­fied sev­eral key ar­eas for fu­ture growth that have the po­ten­tial to bring about sig­nif­i­cant so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fit to Cairns and the Far North.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

HAIR-RAIS­ING AWARE­NESS: Can­cer sur­vivors Claire Mitchell and Sue Dun­das turned out to sup­port the Re­lay for Life at Bar­low Park.

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