It was a diagnosis that turned her whole world upside down.
When Danielle Foster was told she had breast cancer, the then 26-year-old and her husband had just bought their first home.
“I think we were living in it for four months when I was diagnosed,” she said.
“He works in the mines, so he travels a lot and does a lot of long hours.
“My family and his family wanted to keep him on track, get him to keep going to work, and have as much of a normal life as possible.”
During Danielle’s treatment, which saw her undergo chemotherapy, radiation, a mastectomy and a full breast reconstruction, keeping the house tidy was an added stress.
However, one of Cancer Council NSW’s support services – In Home Help – came as a welcome relief.
“The first thing was cleaning, and, with chemo, it destroys you from the inside out, so you’ve got no energy,” Ms Foster said.
“My mum and dad came down and helped as much as possible but the biggest thing for us was the Cancer Council’s cleaning service.
“It was four ladies who would come every two weeks during my treatment and the house was like brand new.”
After going through treatment, Ms Foster said she was determined to give back to the community, as well as the Cancer Council.
Now aged 31, she works as the charity’s Community Relations Coordinator for the Hunter Region and is involved in organising Relay for Life Newcastle/Lake Macquarie.
Friends, families, schools and colleagues are encouraged to raise money in the lead up to the overnight event, where team members take turns walking around a track to signify that cancer never rests.
The annual event, which will take place on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November at Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale, helps fund the Cancer Council’s research, prevention, information and support services.
“Relay for Life is run by a volunteer committee – a group of Novocastrians get together each year to plan the event, and I am their support,” Ms Foster said.
“It’s just a great community event.”
Relay for Life also serves as a chance for the community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, as well as honour and remember loved ones lost through a candlelight ceremony.
More than 40 teams and 235 participants have signed up so far, while a total of $22,621 has been raised to date.
Relay for Life will start at 3pm and go until 8am.
Visit cancercouncil.com.au/event/relay-for-life-newcastle-lake-macquarie for more information or to donate.