RE­LAY FOR LIFE

Wanneroo Weekender - - News -

EDGE­WA­TER res­i­dent Barb Howard’s heavy in­volve­ment in the Re­lay For Life stems as much from the car­ers’ per­spec­tive as it does cel­e­brat­ing her own fam­ily’s wins over cancer.

Mrs Howard, who is part of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee for the Joon­dalup event, has had her own fam­ily cancer scares not once but twice.

“I re­lay for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that the most im­por­tant thing is about early de­tec­tion and pre­ven­tion and let peo­ple know there is help,” she said.

Both her hus­band Mike and son James faced bat­tles with tes­tic­u­lar cancer within the space of five years and she was forced to com­bine study­ing for her Mas­ters with run­ning the fam­ily busi­ness, while deal­ing with one of life’s great­est un­cer­tain­ties.

“It’s re­ally tough, as a carer you are iso­lated; peo­ple want to help but they hide away be­cause the word cancer is such a taboo,” she said.

“I too didn’t know how to han­dle it, but I had no choice – I had to be pre­pared for the ‘what if’.”

Eight years on, Mrs Howard’s fam­ily has cer­tainly bounced back and in one way, de­fied the odds.

Mike is healthy and able to op­er­ate a suc­cess­ful den­tal prac­tice and James is mar­ried and the father of a baby boy.

The fam­ily had been plan­ning a fifth-year re­mis­sion party for hus­band Mike’s sur­vival when James, who was 14 at the time, was di­ag­nosed with tes­tic­u­lar cancer.

Nine months later can- cer had spread to his lymph nodes and he had the tu­mour re­moved, fol­lowed by bouts of chemo­ther­apy.

“There is noth­ing worse for a carer (than) to watch their loved ones fight for their lives and there is noth­ing you can do about it,” Mrs Howard said.

Peo­ple who have a cancer sur­vivor in their fam­ily are in­vited to cel­e­brate their jour­ney at a spe­cial sur­vivors and car­ers af­ter­noon tea on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 20.

The af­ter­noon tea is part of the open­ing of the 2018 Re­lay for Life at HBF Arena. Reg­is­ter at https:// www.sur­vey­mon­key.com/ r/H6MBVYP

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