Reflections on Me
Today was the first time I went partially headcover-less in public. I've hidden behind my hair a lot during my life. When I was younger, my long waist length hair was a curtain to hide my shyness and lack of confidence. Now, that safety net is gone.
When my hair started to fall, my daughter was initially worried for me. What will people think?
"It doesn't matter," I reassured her. I was okay with it. It's something I had to go through and I prepared for it early on by going gradually shorter till I shaved it all off.
Who we are is not based on how we look. Of course it plays a significant part in defining us. However, the most important thing is who we are inside and the values we live by. Sure, I still worry about other people's opinions sometimes, but after taking far too many years to learn that lesson, I'm hoping my girls will learn this much earlier than I did in life and gain confidence in who they are, with their unique interests, looks, character and quirks.
All of life is a learning journey. It surprised me to learn that there was so much more to learn once I became a parent. I thought I had it all downpat and then these little, dependent people taught me I had barely begun.
GO PINK has been as much for them as it has been for me and for your awareness and for the cause (supporting research to eradicate deaths by 2030).
Thank you to all who have supported me. It doesn't matter how much or little was given. It doesn't matter if you didn't have anything to spare but have been there cheering me on from the sides, encouraging me, praying for me and sending positive vibes.
I am eternally grateful and will keep finding the golden nuggets in this and all the forks in my road.
May it be a long one! xo
Fundraising at Work. Pun intended.
What a rewarding and equally exhausting day! Our GO PINK morning tea was such a success and I am every so grateful for the kindness and generosity of my colleagues. I honestly feel, despite what I have been facing these past three months, that I have lucked out in this workplace. (I know no workplace is perfect but, seriously, this one almost is!).
People took the theme to heart and wore all shades of pink cardigans, shirts, skirts, scarves, dresses, hats, jewellery, glasses, jackets, pants and even shoe laces!
We had pinkish shades of cookies, cakes, dips, chips, slices, pudding, jellies, cupcakes, candies and drinks. There was so much food left it lasted all day!
To my colleagues, I extend a heartfelt thank you. Your generosity WILL make a difference.
P.S. More pics in my image gallery.
P.P.S. $2,000 smashed and counting. Thank you to all who have given, friends, family, colleagues and anon. Every bit helps. xo
Bravery and Strength
During these past months, many people have commented on how strong I am. I'm out and about on most days, continuing a mostly normal work and home routine. Truth is, I don't feel strong a lot of the time and I definitely don't feel brave.
Before my own diagnosis, I used to look in awe at other people who had to face this disease and the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I used to think of my children and be grateful it wasn't me, sure that I would not have the wherewithal to face the same battle. Cruel irony of ironies.
Now that it's my face I see in that mirror, I realise I have only one choice. It's not a decision to be strong or brave. It's a choice to live. A choice to survive. A choice to fight for my children, my husband, my family, my loved ones. A choice to fiercely hang onto this precious life we have all been gifted.
I often tell my children, bravery is not the absence of fear but feeling the fear and doing it (whatever it is you fear) anyway. That's how a lot of life is. Very few of us are truly super men or women.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” ? Bob Marley
P.S.: I have been utterly blown away by the support so many of you have shown towards this important cause. We've almost hit $1,500! I know that the funds we are raising together WILL make a difference for all the beautiful women and girls in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Shall we stretch some more?
I'm ever so grateful for the generosity many of you have shown supporting this cause. We hit $300 with little effort. Then $500 came about. Now we're closer to $1,000 and I'm going to go all out and declare it. Let's stretch even more and see what we can achieve. Every little bit helps!
I'd been supporting this cause for many years before becoming a member of this club I never imagined I'd join. Now, that I'm an unwilling member, I hope to use this journey to raise awareness and funds and thus help the National Breast Cancer Foundation fund world-class research that will detect tumours earlier, improve outcomes and ultimately - save lives.
Together we'll be helping save lives. Let's take a stand against breast cancer!
The power of small kindesses
Saturday is the girl’s usual swim lesson followed by our routine lunch at the Marrickville Metro food court for the best and freshest pork and duck rice paper rolls at Bamboo Zoo, yummy lamb and spinach gozleme, and two $1.00 McD slurpees.
As hubby and my eldest, Miss T, were off gathering our meal, adjacent to our busy table, an elderly lady dropped her purse and her coins clattered out. As she clambered about to collect them, I leant down to help her. She smiled, and said “Thank you”. She added a few words I found initially hard to catch but a smile speaks words in itself. It was a little gesture of human kindness, really a very small effort at that.
I turned back to our table to where Miss S, my youngest, and I were waiting for big sis and hubby. I heard the lady ask if Miss S was my daughter. “Yes”, I said.
By this time, she had slowly risen from her chair, ready to leave. As she stood with a slight stoop to my right, eyes gazing at Miss S, I took a moment to properly notice her. Her face was etched with deep lines around her eyes, her cheeks and down towards her jaw framed by her smoothly combed bob length light grey hair. Her ensemble was completed with a black cardigan, over a black dress, black stockings and flat shoes.
“I am 96 years old”, she started. As she continued, through her thick accent, I picked up that she may have had many children in and around her life for over 60 years. Was she a teacher? Did she have a huge brood of her own children, followed by grandchildren and great grandchildren? I didn’t want to interrupt her as she continued speaking.
She mentioned a few more things that were a little hard to catch. Then she reached out to Miss S to give her a 50 cent coin. Miss S reached out her open palm.
Just at that moment, my eldest, Miss T, returned to the table and sat at my left. The lady’s eyes shifted towards her. Gently, she asked me if this child was also mine. “Yes”, I said.
Immediately, she reached across my body offering her a 50 cent coin as well. I gently touched her calloused hand and said, “Thank you but it wasn’t necessary to give the girls her money.” All I could think of was that this was probably her pension and we really didn’t need this as much as she likely did.
As she walked around me towards Miss T, she insisted. She said she had a small weekly pension but that she was told sometime ago to share, especially with children. I again tried to return her money but she told me it was her promise to God and something she had to do. At that, I stopped protesting. It was not my place to argue with a person who had made a promise to God!
I was choked up and sincerely thanked her again for her kindness and urged the girls to do the same. They both gave emphatic “thank yous” and she gestured to kiss their foreheads, with my youngest (my “cuddle bunny”) jumping up to give her an unsolicited hug. I found myself choking up. All I could say was several, “Thank you” and “God bless you.”
My gaze followed her as she walked to chat with friends at another table, I tried to hold back my tears. Her kindness and small gesture of generosity had moved me deeply, paling into significance my initial gesture to her. I was drawn back to my girls as I heard Miss S ask what she should do with the 50 cents.
I turned the moment into a lesson about kindness and the value of money, about the fact she was giving to them from the little she had which was a huge sacrifice. It reminded me of a bible story I learnt years ago. (The Widow’s Offering Mark 12:41-44 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12:41-44&version=NIV)
Both girls have now kept the 50 cents in their special treasure boxes and I hope it is a memory and lesson that will stay emblazoned on their hearts for the rest of their lives.
Here's to stretch goals!
Hi everyone! I'm so grateful for all the support. In one day, I've hit my original conservative target of $300. So here's to stretch goals. I'm upping the ante to $500.
Who knows why this disease exists? Breast cancer treatment has improved dramatically over recent years with great leaps in survival rates. The more more research we can do, the closer to preventing deaths by 2030.
Here is some more information about where your donation might go.
Why I am going PINK
Did you know that breast cancer now affects 1 in 8 woman and most incidences are not genetically driven? That’s 12.5% of the female population and my workplace and family is filled with women!
Even though it was never a cause I adopted because of a friend or family member directly, it’s a cause I’ve supported for many years just because I’m a woman.
But the tables turned when this became personal. On 26 March this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say my world was shattered was an understatement. All I could think of were my two little daughters and how much I had to be here for them to grow up.
Almost three months on, after surgery and starting chemotheraphy, I'm on my way to hopefully erradicating this from my life forever.
Thankfully I caught it early-ish enough but not everyone does. This is why education and more research is necessary to eradicate deaths by 2030.
You may not know a woman with breast cancer (other than myself) but if you know any women in your life, they may be at risk. Who knows why many of us get it. There is no rhyme or reason for many of us (unless you aready know of a family genetic connection).
I hope you'll support the cause and help my first ever fundraising endeavour. But if nothing else, please make sure you encourage all the beloved women in your life to check their breasts regularly and if they don't know how, they can find out more at https://www.sbcf.org.au/resources/ or just ask their GP.
image credit: Denyse Whelan (https://bit.ly/2lezofX)
I’m going PINK!
From 18 – 24 June, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is challenging the men and women of Australia to GO PINK in support of the thousands of mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, daughters and sons that have been – or will be – affected by breast cancer.
I’ve joined the team because breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. It’s a disease we cannot ignore. But together, we can change the outcomes.
While “Going Pink”, I’m raising money for life-changing research. Please donate to my page, you’ll be helping us step closer to our ultimate goal: zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
YOU can make a difference. Let me know if you want to GO PINK with me!
Thank you to my Sponsors
Grace Ng, Usa
Samm & Terence Wong
Andrew C Wong