'Cancer really does affect everyone'
IN May, Kerry Turner completed a year of aggressive chemotherapy and ongoing treatment for breast cancer, an ordeal that has left her determined to make others aware of the importance of getting checked for the disease.
While Kerry's treatment was harsh, her positive outlook is stronger, and in June this year the regular parkrunner and mother of two completed a 10km run at the Rockhampton River Run - an effort she was "very pleased” with.
As she prepares for another 10km in Yeppoon next month, Kerry has been named the Face of Relay for this year's Relay for Life cancer fundraising event, to be held in Emerald on September 14.
The Emerald event is aiming to raise $30,000 from across the region for the Cancer Council and Kerry is hoping to raise awareness and alert others to the importance of doctor's visits and a positive mindset.
She will be taking part with team the ERunners (for Emerald Runners) and said she couldn't emphasise how thankful she was to her family and community.
She said her cancer affected everyone around her, including her husband Nathan and her children Brayden, 19, and Emily, 15.
"I can't thank them enough. In a small town like this, everyone pulls together. The Relay for Life will be a good celebration.”
Kerry first found the lump in her breast on March 22 last year after feeling that something was "not quite right” after a morning run.
The lump was an aggressive form of cancer.
Kerry saw her doctor and after an ultrasound and biopsy, she was given a cancer diagnosis on April 3, two days after her son's 18th birthday.
She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and 18 rounds of a chemotherapy drug, and is now returning to hospital every three months for check-ups.
She said she was focussed on adopting a positive mental attitude during her recovery.
"It also makes you feel better. Don't get me wrong, I had my bad days as well.
"Cancer really does affect everyone, so that's why if everyone can get on board with fundraising it would be great.”
The Relay for Life event features local teams of about 10 people taking part in a nine-hour relay from 3pm to midnight, with the main rule being that someone from the team is on the track carrying the baton at all times.
Kerry's mum was also diagnosed with breast cancer a year before Kerry, which also motivated Kerry to make an appointment with the doctor.
"I'm trying to make people aware that if they find something unusual, go to the doctor.
"This particular morning, I was out running with my group and I just felt my bra was rubbing the wrong way and I just thought there was something wrong.
"When I found out it was cancer, I had the lump removed. Then the first round of chemotherapy was very scary because it's the unknown. It was very daunting.
"The second one was my worst. I was really sick and Idid lose my hair, but after that I just knew I had to go through it, I just had to do it.
"I was 39 at the time of finding the lump. If you're not sure, definitely go to the doctor.”
The Relay for Life at Emerald Showgrounds will include an opening ceremony from 3pm, a ceremony at 11pm on Saturday and a candlelight ceremony at 7.30pm.
There will be entertainment with linedancers, local singers, track and field events, a dance battle and trivia.
Relay for Life committee volunteer Lisa Conway, of Emerald, said she was hoping at least 100 people would take part in the all-ages event.
"People can still register until the day and on the day as well via the Relay for Life website.”