In 2017, it is estimated that 17,586 women and 144 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. On average, 48 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women and accounts for 28.3% of all new cancers in Australian women in 2017.
The good news is that Australia has one of the best breast cancer survival rates in the world!
This is Jolene's Breast Cancer Journey.....
The start of 2017 brought a multitude of positive changes that gave such hope and a new way forward. A new start, a new lease of life! Things were on the up, life looked good and there was a lot to smile about that's for sure.
On the 8th June, I received a message from my closest friend, Jolene, to say that she had been for a breast biopsy after finding a lump around 6 weeks earlier. She had been waiting for an appointment at the high risk clinic but pushed to be seen sooner as she instinctively knew 'all was not well'. She thought she was just going for a check in her lunch break - 5hrs later after having a mammogram and ultrasound followed by biopsies, one needle and two painful cuts, she was given the news no one wants to hear, it was a large tumour. In true Jolene style she prepared herself for the worst and hoped for the best. The results came days later, two lumps, one benign, one malignant. My heart sank and I was absolutely devastated for her.
Jolene continued to remain positive and ready to deal with whatever was thrown at her. On the 23rd June she met with her surgeon and by her own admission the appointment was 'information overload' and she struggled to take it all in at that moment. Thankfully she had the support from one of her closest friends.
On the 24th June, Jolene made the decision to post a message on her Facebook page to inform all her friends and loved ones of her condition. It was most likely the toughest post to date. The post was received with shock, disbelief and absolute heartfelt love and support towards her and no doubt brought tears to her eyes.
Approximately 5-10% of breast cancers are due to a strong family history or genetic mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. Sadly Jolene is in this statistic.
At this stage her diagnosis is Grade 3 invasive invasive ductal carcinoma (malignant tumour). For now we know that she will have a mastectomy followed by chemo treatment, hair loss and the possibility of radiation treament. The treatment will likely be at least 5 months. More information will be ascertained after her surgery on the 6th July.
Jolene is without question the friend you would want by your side. A devoted Mother to her two amazing children, Harley & Imogen. She is beautiful, inside and out, fiercely independent, strong, kind, extremely generous and incredibly determined with a playful pinch of sarcasm added for extra measure. The love, kindness and support she gives to anyone who crosses her path is pure and unconditional. She has been my absolute rock since the first day we met, taking me and my two young children under her wing.
As an active advocate for breast cancer awareness thoughout her years she knows what she is up against.
The news has left me personally feeling helpless. What can I do? This is Jolene's journey and while I can offer her and her adorable children my love, understanding and listening ear, I want to do something to help ease things for her while she goes through the hospital appointments, time off work, surgery, treatment and road to recovery. Jolene is the person who gives 100% and expects nothing in return. Maybe this is one time that she needs to learn to receive. So, I decided to set up this gofundme page to share with her beloved friends and family so we can all show her that she doesn't have to go through this journey alone and that we all have her back. The last thing we all want is for her to worry about the financial burden that she will obviously endure as there is only so much holiday you can take when working full time. Just to ease the pressure so that she can focus fully on her wonderful children and keep some sort of normality in their lives.
Jolene knows only too well that our health and precious family and friends are what matters most. It's going to be tough but she will give this her best shot for her babies.
Let us all support Jolene, keeping her and her children in our thoughts and prayers, to help overcome her biggest challenge yet.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this page. All donations collected via this site will go towards helping to offset the exorbitant costs over the next months.
P.S Ladies (and of course gentlemen), don't forget to check your boobs. You are not too young for breast cancer.
- Sara Sparling