Kate Gale and her husband have each seen cancer from both sides of the fence - as patient and carer.
Ms Gale was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 when she was just 27, and husband Bob with kidney cancer just five years later.
A hairdressing client who was recovering from breast cancer surgery urged Ms Gale to check her breasts and the very next day she found a lump in her right breast.
With three-year-old and one-year-old girls to care for Ms Gale knew she was in a fight for life and to see them grow up.
After two bouts of surgery, six months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation therapy and a further 12 months of drug therapy she beat the cancer.
But it reared its head five years later when Bob was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Luckily his case turned out to be a relatively simple cure, with his body having formed a fat calcification around the kidney which locked the cancer in.
He had surgery to remove the kidney and needed no further treatment.
Ms Gale is grateful the children were young, particularly when she was fighting cancer, as there were always something to take the focus away from her.
"I don't know how they would deal with it now (as teenagers). As hard as it was having little people it was probably good - I would look at them and think I had to keep on fighting, I didn't have a choice," she said.
When Ms Gale was diagnosed she quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of information thrust upon her and called on the Cancer Council for support.
"There was just too much all at once. I got to the point where I couldn't take any more paraphernalia," she said.
"I felt like I couldn't speak to anyone close, that I had to keep my walls up to be strong for everybody. I thought if I let my walls down everyone else would go to water around me and I needed them to be strong," she said.
She spoke to a counsellor on the Cancer Council's Information and Support hotline.
"I just offloaded but it was great - they could give advice and point me in the right direction where I could go,."
She turned to them again after her husband was diagnosed.
"It was the flip side from when I was the patient and then I had to be the strong one for him. I don't want to see cancer from either side again but they were fantastic ... and it made me realise there are lots of cancers out there not just breast cancer."
To help repay the support that the Cancer Council showed her family, Ms Gale will host a virtual morning tea as part of the Cancer Council's annual Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser.
"We do Relay for life and Biggest Morning Tea because they helped us in so many ways and cancer is more than one or two types," she said.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, calls to the Cancer Council's 13 11 20 Information and Support Line have increased about 15 per cent with an average of 183 calls received each week.
Cancer Council Victoria head of strategy and support Danielle Spence said many calls were about practical support, but more were for emotional support.
"Living with cancer can be extremely lonely and isolating, even more so in the middle of a health crisis," she said.
"We know that as restrictions ease we will see more cases of COVID-19, which is why immunocompromised people, such as those with cancer, still need to be vigilant. But the loss of social connection can be exceptionally overwhelming for people who are already trying to cope with the physical, emotional and financial stresses associated with cancer."
Cancer Council Victoria head of supporter experience Bernadette Kennedy said this year's Biggest Morning Tea provided a perfect opportunity to check in on loved ones.
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"Australia's Biggest Morning Tea is a great time to get innovative and find new ways to 'come together'. It could be a virtual morning tea or small gathering with family, friends or colleagues, a cuppa with those in your household or you could even raise a mug to your neighbour across the driveway," she said.
"The reality is that while many of us have had our lives put on hold, cancer doesn't rest so it's critical that we continue to provide ongoing vital support to all Australians who have been affected by cancer."
All money raised through Australia's Biggest Morning Tea will help fund Cancer Council's life-saving research, prevention and support services.
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