From the Founder
Our Attitude Defines the Outcome…
So often we take things for granted and complain when things go wrong. But I know and believe that everybody will find hope in each situation. Just believe in a positive outcome – the light at the end of the tunnel, and above all, believe in yourself. Sometimes life takes you where you least expect it and you wonder if you can handle it. You worry you may not be able to cope with this new challenge. However, you CAN!!! And it is all up to you how you do it! Refuse to think your glass is half-empty – see it as half-full. Only then can you believe in yourself. Believe in getting stronger through your experience instead of wallowing in self-pity. Research suggests a positive attitude to any illness along with support from friends and family, aids the recovery process. The choice of illness may not be yours, but how you cope with it is totally your choice and we are here to help you along the path.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis immediately stirred up painful memories of my own fathers’ struggle with cancer, his demise and eventual death in 1993. I could not even give the prospective mastectomy a second thought, because I was more concerned about the nasty side effects of chemotherapy. My initial thought was not to undergo chemotherapy at all, but then I remembered my two dependent children…so I decided to brave it and face my biggest fear.
More tests and second opinions did not make it any easier. The waves of emotions you experience are unimaginable – unless you have experienced it yourself. The day I finally decided to undergo treatment I suddenly experienced a strange calmness, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit preparing me for the long painful road ahead.
As I walked the road to recovery, I knew that I had to experience this terrible illness, so that I can help others.
After the mastectomy I had to face chemotherapy. On route back from the consultant, thinking about my options and the start date of my first chemotherapy decision I decided to beat this thing. I decided to do something different. Something that would keep my spirits up and take my attention away from my own negative experiences of seeing my father suffering through the side effects of chemotherapy.
I refused to go through the same as him and decided to have a fancy dress theme for each chemotherapy session. I immediately decided to have FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL as the theme for the first session and GRADUATION for the final session. The rest of the themes were decided with some input from family and friends.
The first day of chemotherapy finally approached and my two children and I dressed in Waterkloof High School Uniforms. It really did feel like my first day at high school. I was scared as I didn’t know what to expect….but soon friends, family and staff at the hospital joined in and dressed up for all my other sessions, keeping my spirits high and helping me through it. Themes varied from Rugby, Pocahontas, Cowboys, Christmas in July, Angels, Mickey and Minni, Hippies, Pink Ladies, Paramedics, and Punks.
For the Punk Theme, the President and 2 colleagues for Steelwings fetched me with their Harley Davidson’s from my house. Can you picture me dressed with punk wigs, fishnet stockings and black boots on the back of the Harley en route to the Mary Potter Oncology centre at the Little Company of Mary Hospital?
The same happened with the Paramedic Theme when Jannie, from EMS events specialist paramedics and a colleague fetched my children and me, provided us with uniforms and a medial briefcase (fully equipped I hasten to add). They whisked me off to the Blue Crane Restaurant near the hospital where I met a number of friends, family and colleagues for an impromptu birthday celebration (yes it was my birthday) before going off for my treatment.
My wonderful daughter created a Facebook group for support. Family and friends further afield and abroad could add photos as they also dressed up in support of my chemotherapy sessions. I could not believe the positive power of everybody’s support and just realised how my mental attitude to fight the illness and remain positive, has given me the strength to survive this. I decided to give something back to others and encourage others to take on the same attitude when they are faced with adversity and as a result of my experience; I founded the charity Pink Chicks.
Pink Chicks may have been founded on the back of my experience of breast cancer, but I want to use the charity to also help other cancer sufferers. Not just breast cancer. Even though I don’t know all the text book knowledge on each type of cancer, it’s progress or treatment, but I do know what it’s like to experience the darkness of it’s claws, and want to give hope to others and support them, their families and loved ones.