Cancer survivor inspiring others
WHEN Dot O'Dell discovered a lump in her breast, she knew straight away something was wrong.
The Capella local travelled to Brisbane for tests in 2016, revealing she had breast cancer at the age of 40.
Ms O'Dell had a lumpectomy in Brisbane and was ready to return home when her doctor asked her to return urgently to the hospital for a mastectomy.
"I was told it was worse than expected and I had stage three breast cancer,” she said.
"There's a history of cancer in my family so I have always been proactive about my health, but hearing that it was so advanced when I was relatively young was such a shock.”
After the mastectomy, Ms O'Dell began chemotherapy, spending the first three months of treatment away from home in Brisbane.
"Those first three months were pretty difficult. I was away from my children and I just couldn't tell them over the phone what was happening,” she said.
"I wanted to tell them face to face but also, as a mum, you don't want your children to worry or to be scared and think that they're going to lose their mum.”
Ms O'Dell finished her treatment in January and has since had a second mastectomy and a hysterectomy, to ensure the cancer doesn't return.
"It has been a big journey and while it's one no one is ever prepared for, I have been fortunate enough to have met and spent many long hours talking and listening to very inspiring, brave people who I am lucky to call my friends.
"I am grateful for the support I received, not only from my parents, extended family and friends, but from the Capella community.”
In recognition of her positive spirit, Ms O'Dell has been named the face of Cancer Council Queensland's 2018 Central Highlands Relay For Life.
"I have been involved with Relay For Life before as a participant,” she said.
"So many people are affected by cancer in Central Queensland, so I hope I can inspire people to keep going and not to give up hope.”
The 2018 Central Highlands Relay For Life will be held September 8-9 at the Emerald Showgrounds.
For more information or to register, visit centralhighlands.qld.gov.au.