New face of cancer hope
CANCER survivor and activist Jasmine Gailer has been named Gympie's face of Relay for Life.
What was meant to be the trip of a lifetime was cut short by some very unexpected news for the 24-year-old Gympie girl, who now lives and studies in Brisbane.
In December 2009 Ms Gailer tripped and hurt her knee while in Mexico.
Thinking nothing of it, Jasmine, who was on a gap year from university, continued her travels and while on a working holiday in London in 2010, started to experience discomfort in her right leg.
Ms Gailer said she thought it was some sort of ligament injury and she saw a physiotherapist, who instructed her to use crutches.
For three months she powered through the pain trying to work and live on crutches and decided to fly back home to Australia and seek help.
"I was looking forward to taking in the London life for two years but had to leave six months into my trip because I could tell something was really wrong," she said.
"In August 2010 I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone tumour in my knee, it was such a shock because the whole time I was thinking I had a ligament injury. I underwent chemotherapy treatment for six months and also had an operation where a lot of bone and muscle was cut to insert a titanium knee joint.
"I never really understood the impact that cancer has on the person diagnosed and their friends and family until then, and this triggered my desire to help others."
Last year Ms Gailer used her experience to inspire a photographic art exhibition called Scar Stories which featured scars left behind after cancer surgery.
Now she is as determined as ever to fight back against the disease and will raise vital funds when she steps out for the Gympie Relay for Life.
"Relay for Life is a very special event that brings the community together to celebrate our survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against cancer," she said.
"Now as the Face of Relay, I realise just how important it is for us as a community to come together and find a cure.
"Watching the community work together to raise funds in support of people and families just like my own gives me strength and inspires me to keep fighting.
"My cancer experience has allowed me to realise my passion for giving back to the community and making a difference.
"I am so honoured and excited to be Face of Relay and I can't wait to give back and inspire others to get involved."
See Ms Gailer and Relay team captains at the launch of Relay for Life at Centro tomorrow. They will be outside of Big W from 9am-11.30am
- December 2009 Jasmine trips and hurts her knee in Mexico
- May 2010 she starts seeing a physiotherapist, who treats for torn ACL
- July 2010 she returns home for ACL surgery, her doctor discovers a more serious problem and six months of gruelling treatment starts
- November 2010 surgery replaces knee with titanium
- January 2011 treatment finishes, physio starts
- January 2012: Curator of Scar Stories
- May 2012: Face of Relay for Life in Gympie