Breast cancer survivor says thanks to the McGrath Foundation for breast care nurses with a cocktail party that raised more than $18,000

SUPPORT: Breast care nurse Joylene Fletcher, breast cancer survivor Katrina McGrath and McGrath Foundation chief executive Holly Masters. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

SUPPORT: Breast care nurse Joylene Fletcher, breast cancer survivor Katrina McGrath and McGrath Foundation chief executive Holly Masters. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Katrina McGrath says the support of McGrath Foundation breast care nurse Joylene Fletcher helped her “continue to be me” and fight on after she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

To repay the hours of invaluable support and the inspiration and hope that Ms Fletcher provided, Ms McGrath decided she wanted to raise money for the McGrath Foundation to place more breast cancer nurses in hospitals across Australia.

But this was never going to be a small fundraiser. With a background in event planning and a love of cocktail parties, Ms McGrath decided to stage a black tie cocktail party at the Old Colonist’s Club.

Ms McGrath pulled the event together in just nine weeks, including a week she spent in hospital. And for her efforts she raised $18,616.03. She plans to hold more events in the future.

McGrath Foundation chief executive Holly Masters visited Ms McGrath in her Ballarat beauty salon on Monday to thank her for her efforts.

“It’s just extraordinary the support we get from people who like Katrina have had experience of our breast cancer nurses and who truly understand what the nurses do. Through actions like this we can continue to place breast cancer nurses in hospitals to support women and men diagnosed with breast cancer,” Ms Masters said.

“Specialists treat cancer, nurses treat the patient.”

Ms McGrath was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2017, shortly after her marriage broke down, and underwent surgery and radiotherapy. With family, friends and staff relying on her she felt the need to soldier through.

“I just got on with it. I worked right through my treatment and only had four days off. I was straight back here to the salon to be normal.

“Joylene gave me the ability to continue to be who I was, because the diagnosis is such a shock. She gave me the ability to be me.”

Ms Fletcher said breast cancer nurses helped support, educate and provide access to services for patients and their families. She has 242 clients throughout the Ballarat region and a second breast care nurse based at Ballarat Health Services has a similar number.

Ms Masters said the need for McGrath Foundation breast care nurses would grow with more than 18,000 women and 149 men diagnosed each year – a number rising as the population ages.

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