Cancer is a horrible disease that affects many lives. Relay For Life 2013 coordinator Tracy Alexander is just one of the many that has been affected by cancer and survived; she has now been in remission for eight years. Brittany, part of the 2GLF street team, met up with Tracy to interview her about her cancer story and the Relay For Life project she is involved in.
Tracy’s involvement in Relay For Life –
Relay for Life is an event paying homage and respect to the carers of cancer patients, mainly for their hard work and support of individuals affected by cancer. Tracy has worked tirelessly at organising this event.
Tracy is the entertainment and activities coordinator for the 2013 Relay For Life event to be held at Liverpool this weekend. She told Brittany the reasons why she is involved in this event. She is naturally empathetic and caring of people with cancer, her family has had members who have dealt with cancer including Tracy herself.
“I am willing to put myself behind anyone and help them out,” Tracy said.
Relay For Life is an event open to cancer patients and their carers. Though, Tracy told us that it is also open to families of patients and people from the public who are interested and want to get involved by giving a helping hand.
“Everyone has been affected by cancer in one way, the disease does not discriminate,” Tracy said.
There are many fun and entertaining events at Relay For Life including track events, singers and dancers performing at the event including ‘cookies and cream’. It is also a very emotional and reflective day with a candle light vigil held for cancer patients who have lost their fight, held at around 8pm at night.
Tracy’s Story –
Tracy was told the shocking and terrible news on Christmas Eve 2004, she had been diagnosed with grade three Breast Cancer. Grade three cancers are aggressive forms of the disease. As she got the news right on one of the main Christmas holiday dates, she dealt with the disease after Christmas had passed.
“Sitting there, no real thought comes to mind, you’re just numb. As it was on Christmas I didn’t really have time to think about it, “ Tracy told Brittany.
Her Cancer journey was tough, making the decision to receive a Bi-lateral mastectomy (an operation to have both her breasts removed). She also dealt with depression after this operation as she said she did not deal with the emotional side of the disease.
“If you don’t deal with it, it can manifest later on,” Tracy said.
Tracy also said having her breasts removed was a big deal for her as she felt she lost part of her femininity, which was not the most important aspect but it still mattered.
“Losing your breasts is like losing part of being a woman,” Tracy said.
The people who inspired Tracy and supported her most during this journey to overcome the cancer has been her son, her partner and her sister Robin.
She said that she needed to get through the cancer as leaving her son alone was not an option. This strengthened her and gave her motivation to continue the fight.
Her partner and sister Robin helped and supported her through this journey emotionally. She is most thankful to her sister Robin who organised many important dates and appointments when Tracy could not cope with all the information.
Tracy now eight years in remission says she is a stronger and happier person having been through this rough period of her life. When asked if she could go back in time and have the option of going through it again she responded that she would.
“Have to go through the hard times.” Tracy said.
Extra words from Tracy –
Tracy recommends cancer patients, carers, their families and any person willing to join in, to attend Relay For Life, which is held on the 23rd and 24th of March on Hillier Oval near Hoxton Park Rd. in Liverpool.
She also asks people with cancer to not go on their cancer fight alone. To not isolate themselves as it is better that they seek support and help from the people available to help including the Cancer Council and Casula Hub.
“There’s help out there”.
Check out the Relay for Life website, http://www.relay.cancercouncil.com.au/.
If you want to hear Brittany’s interview with Tracy, click on the audio link.