BREAST cancer survivors, battlers and their supporters gathered yesterday at the Ballarat Lodge for the Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer Forum to share experiences and learn about the latest research.
Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle spoke about her own journey battling cancer and dealing with depression at the event, with guests travelling as far as Geelong, Hamilton and Maryborough.
“Last week I celebrated 17 years of breast cancer survival,” Ms Boyle told the group of more than 200.
“I watched my mother battle depression her whole life, and I’d promised myself that I’d never be like that. But it got to a time after dealing with breast cancer that I had to do something about it.”
“Over 50 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have some sort of depression.”
The day provided participants with the latest information and advice from health care experts and the opportunity to connect with women going through similar experiences.
Ballarat expat and UK celebrity Craig Revel Horwood attended the day to support the cause, after one of his friends died from breast cancer at 41.
“Amber was six months pregnant with her fourth child when she was diagnosed, so she had to have the baby terminated,” Mr Horwood said.
“Unfortunately three months later she lost the battle.”
Mr Horwood, moved from Ballarat to London at the age of 23, is a judge on the UK television show Strictly Came Dancing, the British version of Australia’s Dancing with the Stars.
“I think this particular charity is an important one, as it helps women that are just diagnosed and that can be a really daunting time and they can freak out, yet it provides a network they can lean on,” he said.