Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Float to help cure cancer

Participants of the 'Float for a Cure' event will take to the Edward River this Sunday to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.

ZOE MCMAUGH January 24, 2014 4:50am

Float coordinator Debbie Stonham with Chloe, Jaimee and Bella Hammond.

Wendy Johnson says she was overwhelmed when she realised a local event would be held in her honour.

The Float for a Cure event will be held this Sunday, Australia Day, and was coordinated by her close friend Debbie Stonham and her daughter Jaimee Hammond.

Lee Thommers also jumped on board to help, and the organisers say the interest has been better than expected.

Debbie says they expect 70 participants in the Float for a Cure.

Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer in June last year and has been on a rollercoaster ride ever since.

Debbie and Jaimee said they wanted to do something for their family friend.

It was Wendy who suggested any proceeds from the event go toward a national organisation, to help many other women suffering from breast cancer.

‘‘It isn’t just about me, it’s about all women,’’ Wendy said.

‘‘Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women, and early detection and finding a cure is vital.

‘‘There are organisations like the McGrath Foundation and the Breast Cancer Network which are working hard, and they need funding.

‘‘This float is about more than raising funds though, it’s also about the need for people to be aware.’’

With no history of breast cancer in her family, Wendy said the discovery of cancer was a huge shock.

Since then, she has read research which shows 70 per cent of women diagnosed have no family history.

It prompted her to help spread the education and self-check message to all women.

‘‘Women tend to look only for lumps, but any change in the breast – to the nipples, colouration, etc – can be a sign,’’ Wendy said.

‘‘Women also think they’ll feel a round lump only, but mine was elongated and felt like cartilage.

‘‘When I was diagnosed the lump was hard to find – both with the fingers and on an ultrasound.’’

Wendy said she encouraged her friends to select the McGrath Foundation as the recipient of the fundraiser in an effort to help more than one woman.

She said it would also ensure other women have the same level of medical and other support she received.

Wendy also said she would like to see the Deniliquin Hospital oncology unit become the beneficiary of future fundraisers.

‘‘The oncology unit in Deniliquin is a god-send,’’ she said.

‘‘I require regular (weekly) treatment so the outreach clinic is fantastic – it shows that trying to have a balance of abnormality and normality is possible.

‘‘There was a real need for and we’re fortunate to have it, but it is reliant on government funding.’’

Wendy said she hopes this weekend’s float, which she’ll be participating in from a boat, becomes an annual event to continue fundraising for a cause.

Those wishing to take part in the float are asked to meet in the outdoor lounge of the Edward River Hotel at before 11am, which is when the float will begin.

Anyone over 10 can participate, and the cost is $5 per person.

The float will end at McLean Beach and participants are encouraged to make their own way back to the Edward River Hotel for refreshments and live entertainment.

For more information, contact Debbie on 0421857595 or Lee on 58814267.

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