Gympie steps out for cancer cause
GYMPIE'S Relay for Life was well attended again this year with more than 600 people registered to walk throughout the night to show their support.
It's a sight that gladdened the hearts of dozens of cancer survivors both veterans of the event and new-comers.
Founders of Bosom Buddies breast cancer support group, Gwen Morley, Pam Mahony and Lou Beresford were all pleased to see people coming along to support Gympie's Relay for Life, the major fund raiser for the year for the Cancer Council.
"It's good to see so much community support," Gwen Morley said, whose breast cancer was diagnosed 36 years ago when she discovered a lump while breast feeding her second child.
"In the beginning, there was hardly anyone when it was held over at Albert Park. There were six tents in the beginning. It was rained out one year, but last year there were no spaces around the outside, there were that many tents there," Pam Mahony, whose breast cancer was picked up on mammograph in the late 90s, added.
"There's a lot more school children involved now and I think that's wonderful," Lou Beresford said, whose breast cancer was diagnosed 16 years also ago via mammogram.
First timer to the Relay for Life event Warner Hodge said he felt honoured to be asked to cut the cake at the survivors afternoon tea at the start of the event yesterday afternoon.
"When I got here, I was amazed at how big it is and how many people have got involved," he said.
Warner said he got checked for prostrate cancer 18 years ago after he turned 50 because it was recommended to do so.
He was surprised to discover that like one in three men in Australia, he had an enlarged prostrate.
While that in itself doesn't necessarily mean 'The Big C', he learned that people with elevated Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) levels of 3 or more, such as himself, could have the higher levels of PSA because of cancer.
His PSA levels fluctuated from between 3.5 to 5.3 over the course of the next 17 years, which he monitored closely with his GP and last year Warner underwent an operation and course of chemotherapy.
Since then his PSA readings have returned a 0.00 PSA level and his test results are all looking good at this stage.
Something three of the four survivors interviewed told The Gympie Times was that none of them had experienced any symptoms or had shown any indication of being unwell.
And that was the message all of them wished to get across.
"Make sure you get checked regularly and look after yourself," Gwen Morley said.
"You may feel fit but you might not be fit on the inside," Warner Hodge echoed.
"If it wasn't for the breast screening, I'd never have known," Lou Beresford said.