Helen Tucker with grand daughter Indi Lee Edwards. The fifth Ararat Mother’s Day Classic will be held on Sunday at Richardson Oval. Pictured are Phillipa Cairns and Paula Davidson with Sam, Ebony, Bella, Will, Ella, Amy, Navasha, Aleara, Olivia, Mia, Havannah and Kiara.
ARARAT – Four years ago, Helen Tucker thought life was great.
She had retired a few years earlier from her job as a primary school teacher, which she had loved, and was enjoying travelling, golf, some volunteer work and visiting family and friends.
Helen and her husband Ian were doing some house painting when she felt what she thought was a lump in her right breast.
“I was sure at was only rib bone but had to visit the doctor anyway for some now long forgotten reason, so thought I might as well get it checked out,” Helen said.
“She was certain that that’s what it was too, but as I was due for my regular mammogram in a couple of months’ time anyway, she arranged for me to go earlier.”
Helen said the amazing thing was, a mass had been found in her left breast, not the right, which neither the doctor nor Helen had detected.
“That is why I stress to everyone the importance of regular mammograms because not all lumps will be detected even by the most vigilant,” Helen said.
Helen said life then became a blur of appointments and hospital visits. She had a sentinel node biopsy and lumpectomy and was one of the one in six who have to return for further surgery.
A mastectomy followed and she was assured that nothing else was required.
“Life was getting almost back to normal when I was told that the ‘team’ had decided that I should have further treatment!” Helen said.
“I had an absolutely unreasonable terror of the idea of chemotherapy from my earliest days. My father and his siblings had all died suddenly of heart attacks in their forties so I thought that would be my fate and was pretty pleased to have lasted well past that age. That never really frightened me but the decision whether or not to have treatment caused me more worry and stress than the actual diagnosis!
“My mother had a mastectomy at nearly eighty (she is now ninety two and still great), but I had a different type of tumour than hers so heredity was not the cause. After many sleepless nights and changes of mind sense prevailed and I decided I’d better listen to the experts.”
Helen said she met a fantastic group of people along the way.
“The oncology doctors, nurses, volunteers, office staff et cetera were all wonderful,” she said.
“The patients were amazing. They knew what a rough time they would be having in the near future but rarely complained.
“I had chemotherapy and Herceptin, lost my hair and other side effects that are the norm with those things, but on the whole managed to continue my lifestyle as normal as possible with the help of family and friends. I had been due to take on the presidency of Ladies’ Golf at Chalambar when first diagnosed, and was able to fulfil that commitment with the help of the wonderful ladies there.”
Helen said her husband, Ian had been a wonderful support and that she felt sometimes it must be more difficult for the carers that the patient.
Four years later, Helen’s life is back to normal.
She celebrated the end of her treatment with a trip to South America with her sister and became a grandmother late last year.
On Sunday, Helen will be one of hundreds of people touched by breast cancer in the region to participate in the Ararat Mother’s Day Classic.
The money raised will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes and supports research into breast cancer prevention and treatment.
Richardson Oval will be a sea of pink as people participate in either a four-kilometre walk or an eight-kilometre run.
The Mother’s Day Classic caters for all ages and abilities. You can run, walk, push a pram, walk the dog or even take to the track in a scooter or wheelchair.
Now in its fifth year in Ararat, the Mother’s Day Classic is a large, family orientated event.
This year participants can make the most of a coffee van, sausage sizzle and live music from Ararat duo Parso and Dave.
Participants will also be able to purchase an Alannah Hill ‘I (heart) my mum’ T-shirt for $20.
Two hundred T-shirts of various sizes, predominantly toddler and youth sizes, will be available on the day.
The Ararat Mother’s Day Classic begins at 9.30am, with day registration to commence at 8.30am.
Helen urged everyone to get down to Richardson Oval on Sunday to support the initiative.
She said there were so many wonderful support services available to people afflicted with breast cancer.
“We are so lucky to have the expertise of people like Professor George Kannourakis. There are so many different types of cancers and it is so prevalent that probably every reader has, unfortunately, had their own personal experience of some kind either through family or friends,” Helen said.
“We have lost friends too since my experience and I do know how lucky I am. My personal thanks and congratulations go to the organisers of the Mother’s Day Classic for the terrific job they do each year.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.