Catherine's story

"It’s good to belong to a group doing something positive for the local and larger community."


As a survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, I have participated in a couple of memorable Relay For Life events – once in Bendigo with my kids and husband, and last year at our very own local Serpentine Jarrahdale Relay.

It seems a lifetime ago that I had a new baby and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's. Chemo and radio followed. I did my utmost to return to “normal” life. This was a big gulp for me, as I am a very private person. It was a huge learning curve; one in accepting help from others. There were dark days, lighter days and unsure days. It ranged from financial help to pay the phone bill at the time to coming second in a Daffodil Day writing competition.

I set the then-ambitious goal of seeing my youngest go to school. She’s now 22 and a lovely girl. I had good doctors and wonderful, caring nurses that I met along the way, and I got to know hospitals fairly well. I am blessed to be out the other side.

I’m on the Serpentine Jarrahdale Relay Committee now for the second year, helping with the Survivors registration. It’s good to belong to a group doing something positive for the local and larger community. I get to contribute in a small way and make new memories, honouring the people who have gone before me at the Candlelight Ceremony – some who had treatment at the same time as me, and many since.

Cancer outcomes are improving, and support and education is so much better every year. There is a long way to go, especially with research, and no one is immune from cancer yet. I'm still a very private person and privileged to be a Survivor. I’m grateful to Cancer Council for helping me and my family through my treatment time 22 years ago, and for helping people every day. Relay For Life is a great reminder of their commitment to help and give hope to others.