Lilly Dungey

Breast cancer. I was just 10 years old when those two words trampled down the door to my perfect little world for first time. While so much time has passed since, the memory still sits raw in the pit of my stomach. I had heard them used before, but they didn’t have a place in my world. They were just a scary story on a 60-minutes program I’d passively observed.

Being as young as I was I didn’t quite understand what they meant and so I remember telling my older sister to stop crying…. Mum was just going to the hospital for a couple of days, she’d be home soon and be back to normal again. I wish this had been true.

10 years ticked by. The cancer grew and it shrunk. Mum recovered and relapsed. We felt hopeful and hopeless. Mum suffered breast, back and brain cancer leading to a dramatic decline. We had at worst 1 month and at best 3 to say goodbye to our beautiful mum.

How is it even possible to prepare for death? How is it possible to know that someone you love so deeply won’t be here in a matter of months, or worse, weeks. Comprehending that someone can leave your world in a blink of an eye, never to return again, too enormous a task.

You were extremely lucky if you had been touched by my mum, she was a truly amazing human. She made an impact everywhere she went. Her love and friendship, strength and kindness and humility and devotion to the ones she loved was an inspiration to us all. If I can be even half the woman she was I’ll be happy.

Knowing I’ll never get to share precious moments and milestones with my mum is a daily struggle I encounter. Part of me will never forgive the universe for taking her away. However, it brings me great comfort to know that I have such a strong support system of family and friends.

The work that BCNA do is truly amazing; making sure everyone affected by those two words receive the best information, treatment and most importantly support is a true gift. I’ve chosen to run in the Carmen’s Women’s Fun Run this year with a group of amazing individuals at Decjuba. We hope to bring awareness to BCNA and raise some money so that families like mine can continue to feel supported and nurtured through the toughest days.

While those two words ripped us apart, the memory of mum’s favourite quote bind us back together: “If ever there is a tomorrow when we are not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart. I’ll always be with you.” (Winnie the Pooh).

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