I will GO PINK for Cancer Research

GO PINK for Cancer Research

I do some strange things while scrolling through my phone at night. My insomnia keeps me awake for hours sometimes with only my screen for company. I wake up the next day with buyer’s remorse, usually because I’ve bought shoes or clothes that never fit me, or an appliance that never gets used. But this time I woke up with a sinking feeling in my gut because I had signed up to GO PINK, and agreed to dye my hair pink for breast cancer research.

I’m pretty conservative and have never dyed my hair any shade that could be considered flamboyant or radical. As an introvert I hate to stand out in a crowd. The thought of it makes me blush so I’ll probably end up looking like a flamingo with cheeks to match my hair. I needed some courage and that came in the form of my beautiful niece Ally who LOVES to stand out in a crowd and possesses such a lively spirit that she’ll boost my confidence when I need it the most. Ally has been a wonderful support to me over the last few months. She was the person I turned to when I knew I was having my mastectomies because she’s been through breast surgeries herself. Having someone to talk to who has been through this has been a blessing.

Ally and I. She’s been a wonderful support to me over the last few months

I’m doing this challenge because it’s to fundraise for a cause that is very special to me. I have written about my genetic disorder BRCA2 which increases my risk of breast, ovarian, pancreatic and renal cancers and melanoma. I inherited it from dad who died from prostate and pancreatic cancer (both caused by BRCA2). I’m at home recovering from bilateral prophylactic mastectomies, which is a risk reducing surgery along with the removal of my ovaries which I had done in March.

The very fact that I could have risk reducing surgeries is entirely due to the discovery of BRCA2 in the mid 1990’s. Before that, entire families were devastated by breast and ovarian cancer striking again and again through multiple generations. It’s now commonplace for family members to be tested for genetic conditions when there appears to be a genetic link there. Discovering this gene mutation in 1995 was a game-changer for breast cancer research.  It allowed people like me to discover their inherited risk for cancer and do something about it.  Increased screening, prophylactic surgery and medications to reduce the risk are all possible now thanks to breast cancer research.

In my case there were few cases of breast cancer in my family so that alone prevented me from being tested ten years ago. It’s not as well known that men can have the genetic mutation too. Prostate cancer and melanoma have cropped up in our family through multiple generations, including my 24 year old son who had a melanoma. My cousin was diagnosed with BRCA2 about 10 years ago, and because of that I could be tested for free. The cost used to be extremely high but improved testing methods mean that more people can now be tested for it under Medicare. My sons and any other close relatives are also eligible for free testing.

I am passionate about research into genetic causes for cancer and other diseases. That is why I signed up to the GO PINK campaign because it raises funds for breast cancer research by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. If dying my hair pink raises awareness and funds, then I’ll do it even though I’m feeling anxious about looking weird with pink hair! The big day is this Friday and if you would like to donate to this cause via our team The Tough Titties (Ally’s idea, because people who have cancer have to be tough) the link is below.

https://fundraise.nbcf.org.au/fundraisers/thetoughtitties

https://fundraise.nbcf.org.au/fundraisers/thetoughtitties

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  1. Nice to meet you, Christina, I have been reading through you last few posts. I am sorry about the challenges you have been facing. I appreciate your candor and your interesting photos. I have subscribed to your blog.

    You really pulled me in with your initial paragraph. I had no idea where you were going with this. Pink hair! Fun, and courageous. Your niece, Ally, is gorgeous!

    I am very sorry to hear about your Dad and about your recent surgeries. I cannot imagine how difficult all of this has been for you. I extra love your team name. I look forward to reading more about your journey. I may even see a glimpse of pink hair. πŸ™‚

  2. Nice to meet you, Christina, I have been reading through your last few posts. I am sorry about the challenges you have been facing. I appreciate your candor and your interesting photos. I have subscribed to your blog.

    You really pulled me in with your initial paragraph. I had no idea where you were going with this. Pink hair! Fun, and courageous. Your niece, Ally, is gorgeous!

    I am very sorry to hear about your Dad and about your recent surgeries. I cannot imagine how difficult all of this has been for you. I extra love your team name. I look forward to learning about you and possibly seeing a glimpse of your pink hair. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Erica, it’s certainly been a challenging year! Thankyou for your lovely comments. Ally is a stunning girl, and for some reason we have always been really close. She’s like the daughter I never had. I promise we’ll post photos of our lovely pink hairdo’s! Regards, Christina

  3. What a brave move … but it really is such a positive action, to push the boat out on cancer research in general, but on the BRCA2 which has impacted you and your family so much. I confess I had never heard of it. Good luck with the pink hair! #MLSTL

    1. Thanks for your comment Endaroo. It’s not really well known, even many of my nursing colleagues haven’t heard of it either. I’m so lucky that I get to benefit from this research and that I have such wonderful doctors who are supportive of prophylactic surgery. Regards, Christina

      1. Hi Christina. My name is Enda, BTW, I don’t know how that Endardoo thing has lingered on. I put it down somewhere, years ago, in some social forum or other that I can’t recall, and it lives on! Stay well and good look with your efforts

  4. Hi Christina, I just realized that I’d missed your post on your double mastectomy and went back to read it – you’ve certainly been through the wringer! I hope your recovery is going well and you’re feeling more on top of things after such a huge setback. Good on you for finding something fun to do to raise funds – I think you’ll look great with pink hair. I used to have pink in mine for years (under the top layer so it wasn’t too full-on) and it’s such a day brightener to catch a glimpse of it in the mirror. I actually miss mine and think about getting it done again for the lift it gives my spirits. Good luck with it all and I’m looking forward to the pink pics!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

  5. I am a breast cancer survivor. Thank you for this! This disease has already had tons of research, for which I am grateful. But we don’t have a cure yet. And there are still many women, including myself, that suffer side effects from treatment for years, a decade even, after treatments. Some hormonal medicines mess us up and we have to be on them for 10 years. So, yes, thank you for your support. We aren’t done yet. Not by a long shot!

  6. Hi, thankyou so much for your comment. I agree, we have so much further to go .. a cure, or better yet, a preventive treatment so that no one’s lives is touched by cancer. That is my dream for an ideal world. I hope you are able to fully recover, wishing you all the best. Regards, Christina

  7. Hi Christina, I love and admire your bravery and ability to laugh and have fun with a life-changing experience. You and your family are an inspiration for sure! And, you will look gorgeous in pink. πŸ’—

  8. Hi Christina, I love and admire your courage and inspiration through these life-changing events. Technology is a wonderful thing. And I think you’ll be a gorgeous pink-haired woman on Friday. πŸ’—

  9. Hi Christina well done for taking up the challenge and going pink. As I have had both my parents and brother die from different forms of cancer I too try to support and put the spotlight on cancer research. You are such an inspiration, Christina and a true survivor.Thank you for sharing your story and the challenge with us at #MLSTL. Take care and have a beautiful weekend. xx

    1. Thank you so much Sue. We had a fun day on Friday dying our hair, I’ve just published the photos if you want to take a look. Cancer has definitely touched your family too. It’s really sad that some of us have these really high numbers of cancer in our families. Is yours from a genetic link too? Thanks again for your lovely comments, regards Christina

  10. Thank you for all that you’re doing to support cancer research. I’m in the midst of chemo treatments right now and I appreciate reading about your journey. 😊

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