Fighting back against cancer
It’s been ‘‘a rollercoaster of a year’’ for Claire Burgess and her family.
The mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year, and since underwent a mastectomy on one side, more than four months of chemotherapy and six weeks radiotherapy in Dunedin.
With no family history of the disease, Burgess was shocked by the news of cancer.
However, with the support of her husband and children and the Cancer Society, she is now doing well.
During her treatment she received baking from the Cancer Society and a donated quilt, then while she was away in Dunedin during the Christmas and New Year period she stayed in the Daffodil House – accommodation provided by the Cancer Society for people with cancer who require treatment away from their home environment.
‘‘It was just so amazing ... I met so many people up there,’’ Burgess said. ‘‘The Cancer Society has been great.’’
With daughters of her own, she wants her story to encourage other women and girls of any age to self-examine. ‘‘It’s good to get to know your body for all cancers, not just (those affecting) women.
‘‘It [cancer] definitely touches most of the community.’’
To give back to the Cancer Society, on Saturday and Sunday Burgess will be in a team of 20 family and friends participating in this year’s Southland Relay for Life.
‘‘It’s good for all ages. It’s an easy thing for all fitness levels.’’
The fundraiser is a good way to give back to the organisation that helped her in her time of need, to get active and to have fun dressing up, she said.
Cancer Society events and campaigns co-ordinator Amy Hibbs said this year, at the ninth relay, there would be an opening ceremony, activities and entertainment, and an evening candlelight ceremony.
‘‘This is a time to remember loved ones affected by cancer,’’ she said.
About 1000 people are expected to attend the event, including about 800 participants.
All money raised in Southland will stay in the region.
Funds will go towards supporting people who have been affected by cancer, as well as being used to undertake health promotion to reduce the risk of cancer and also fund research.
Council staff shave heads for cancer: see page 3.
Members of the CJ (Ginger) Ninja’s team: Maia Murdoch, Claire Burgess, Olivia Burgess, Sophie Murdoch and Tessa Burgess. ‘‘This is a time to remember loved ones affected by cancer.’’