PENSHURST’S Jodie Ewing counts herself as one of the lucky ones after battling and overcoming breast cancer in 2007.
Tomorrow marks Daffodil Day and this year, Jodie is reminding locals to donate and raise money for life-saving cancer research.
“I was quite young when I was diagnosed, I must have been 34-35 so it was a big shock to me,” she said.
“It was 12 months before I was diagnosed that felt a lump and I got it checked and it was a cyst.
“Just 12 months to that day I felt another lump, so I got a mammogram and ultrasound.”
Four days later, Jodie was told she had breast cancer.
“It just changed my life,” she said.
“I really admired the support I had from my family and friends.
“Sue Watt, the breast cancer nurse at WDHS, was just amazing, as well as the other support around Hamilton.
“I had surgery, chemo and radiation in Geelong, and I had to spend time away from family – that was quite tough but thankfully I got through it all.
“It changed my life a fair bit and I am pretty easy going these days now.”
After five years of blood tests, mammograms, radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, Jodie was officially cleared of breast cancer.
Jodie recalled feeling a sense of relief when told she was cancer-free.
“I felt relieved that I didn’t have to worry too much anymore but cancer can still hit anywhere at any time, it can affect anyone,” she said.
Last year, more than 35,000 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer.
One in three Victorians will develop cancer before the age of 75, with 30 Victorians losing their lives to cancer daily.
Jodie said cancer certainly didn’t discriminate and could affect anyone and any time.
“I had no family history of it, but realistically cancer can begin anytime for anybody and I am thankful I was one of the lucky ones, because I know lots of friends that didn’t make it through and I think about them regularly,” she said.
Jodie now gets her breasts screened every 12 months and urged others to get frequent checks.
“All of my family got tested once I was diagnosed and hopefully, they continue to get screened every two years, it is incredibly important,” she said.
“I get screened every 12 months – it is always quite daunting because you never know what will happen and when I get that letter or email saying I am clear, it is just so great that I can get through another year because there are so many unfortunate families that lose loved ones from cancer.”
After her battle, Jodie said she revalued her life and decided to follow a passion of teaching.
“I was originally a hairdresser but after I finished with my treatment, I thought about life a bit and thought I needed to do something different and something I wanted to do,” she said.
“I was a hairdresser and now I teach hairdressing and barbering at Pure Academy in Warrnambool and I just love what I am doing.”
This year will mark the 34th Daffodil Day and Jodie said the day was “a great way to celebrate loved ones who have lost their lives and reflect”.
“It is life-saving research because it can happen to anyone at any time,” she said.
“The more you can donate will mean the sooner a cure for cancer is discovered and that will mean more loved ones around.
“Daffodil Day is important because all of the money raised goes towards research for all cancer types.
“Hopefully one day we will be a cancer-free society.”
Anyone who is affected by cancer and worried about the current situation surrounding COVID-19 can call Cancer Council’s information and support line 13 11 20.
If you wish to donate to Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day, you can do so via https://www.daffodilday.com.au/donate.