When Liz Sherrey was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she had never felt more alone, but she has found a new sense of community through the Mother's Day Classic.
The popular National Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser is celebrating its 25th year this year and has raised almost $40 million to date.
Supporters can register to walk, run or jog at up to 67 event locations nation-wide tomorrow, and Liz is encouraging others to support the cause.
The 66-year-old Mount Duneed Lifestyle Communities resident was living in Bermuda - where she worked as an operating theatre nurse, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.
"I was away from home, that in itself was very traumatic," she said.
The diagnosis followed a routine mammogram, coming as a complete shock to Liz, who had no family history of the disease.
"I didn't feel anything at all. It (the tumour) was very small, only 6mm.
"It was very close to my chest wall, so I never would have felt it until it was too late. I'm very thankful for the mammogram."
Following the biopsy and a successful lumpectomy, which removed all of the cancer, Liz then had to have a course of radiotherapy. She wanted to return home for the treatment to be close to friends and family, but was initially unsure whether she would be covered under Medicare. Luckily she was still covered as she had not been living overseas for more than five years.
She was very tense leading up to her first few post treatment mammograms, which were initially six monthly and are now down to once a year.
"As time's gone on, you kind of forget about it, but then when you get the letter (saying you're due for the next check-up), you're kind of tense. It's always there, I guess."
Liz first participated in the Mother's Day Classic last year. Lifestyle Communities had a bus going to the event and she decided to give it a go. She was blown away by the experience and sense of community it provided.
"There were thousands of participants, it was a beautiful day.
"You don't feel alone, you realise just how many people have been touched by it.
"There's nobody who hasn't been touched by it, really, whether it be a friend, family or yourself (who was diagnosed).
"Everyone's got their own individual story and has been affected by it in a different way."
Lifestyle Communities is a huge supporter of the Mother's Day Classic. It will run various fundraising initiatives across 21 locations, as well as transporting residents to and from local events this year.
Over 551 of its homeowners will participate this year and Lifestyle Communities has set a fundraising target of over $70,000.
Lifestyle Communities chief executive James Kelly said it was a pleasure to support the event.
"It's a huge undertaking to bus in hundreds of homeowners from across our 25 different locations and making sure everyone gets to the start line on time is a bit like a military operation," he said.
"Fundraising for breast cancer research is so important to both our homeowners and Lifestyle and we are just so proud to get behind the Mother's Day Classic each year."
For more information on this year's event click HERE
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