Preserving memories and beating cancer

Tracey Ryan and Megan Crowley at last year's fundraising event.

By Danielle Kutchel

A Clyde North breast cancer survivor is organising a fundraiser to help other young women in her position to beat the disease.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, Megan Crowley was disappointed to discover a lack of support networks for cancer sufferers of her age.

“I was 36. Everything was for if you’re over 50, there was very little for if you were younger. That didn’t sit well with me.”

She resolved to do something about it if she made it through her fight.

“I wanted to do something to make people aware of things they can do to educate themselves: how to check their breasts, signs to look for, organisations out there to help, genetic testing and all the things I learned along the way.”

While she was sick, Ms Crowley would scrapbook her memories, seeing it as a way of preserving her stories for her children in case she wasn’t there to tell them.

The two passions came together and she launched a craft day fundraiser in 2017, raising money for the Breast Cancer Network Australia. The girls’ night in style event raised around $1700.

The following year she ran the fundraising day again and raised even more money.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday July 13, and so far 87 people have registered to attend. She will be raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and local charity Young Pink Sisters.

“I chose those two because NBCF has the research element, finding new ways to detect cancer and new treatments, and Young Pink Sisters I met through my own journey and their charity really stick with me,” Ms Crowley explains.

“I’ve been through chemo and radiotherapy, I’ve had surgeries, the full gamut, and I’m very focused on trying to improve those or find something better.

“Young Pink Sisters provides $600 grants to young women going through breast cancer to pay for whatever they need – food or medication. It really stuck with me because my medical costs are huge. I’ve got private health insurance and still paid a fortune, and I wouldn’t change it for the world but some people aren’t as fortunate.”

She aims to raise $2500 for each charity this year through a high tea and scrapbooking day.

A speaker from Pink Hope will talk to attendees about the genetic aspect of breast cancer, while the afternoon will be dedicated to creating memories and relaxing through scrapbooking. Tracey Ryan, an ambassador for NBFC and a director of Young Pink Sisters, will also attend.

While her focus is on helping others, Ms Crowley’s own fight isn’t yet over.

“The terminology they use at the moment is ‘no evidence of disease’. I still have things I have to deal with every day. Your life is no longer what it was before. The impact is huge on not only a person going through cancer but their family and friends. It doesn’t discriminate, and it really changes you forever.”

Anyone interested in attending the day or making a donation can contact Ms Crowley at megan_dacca@hotmail.com.

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