JOANIE Rix never thought she would see the day she could celebrate her birthday cancer-free.
But when the Bullarook mum-of-four boys wakes up this morning, it will be the first time in a decade-and-a-half that she has been cancer-free on her special day.
After a 14-year battle with breast cancer, Ms Rix was given the news last year that she was officially a 'NED' (no evidence of disease) after being first diagnosed with breast cancer on her 41st birthday, 15 years ago.
She says she has been counting down the days to her 56th with a big celebration planned.
"It's 15 years on Wednesday, I was diagnosed on my birthday. I've never been superstitious or thought anything of it, but it was Friday the 13th.
"When I was diagnosed, my youngest was only four and my eldest was 14.
"My youngest is 19 now. I just thought, 'if I give up, how would my husband look after four kids and run our own business?'
"It was like, 'nope I'm going to do this for the kids, I'm going to fight this and move on', and that gave me the will to live and keep on going."
Mrs Rix said she had some doubts that she could beat the disease, given she is a fourth-generation of breast cancer patient in her family.
"I didn't expect I'd still be around by now," she said.
"Although I'm a fourth-generation, it is not actually classed as hereditary as my mother has never had or been diagnosed with breast cancer at all and she's in her early 80s.
"My aunty and my younger sister have had it."
Mrs Rix said when she was told she was disease-free, she came out "punching the air."
"Wednesday is going to be very emotional as it's my first birthday since," she said.
"Every year is a special year, but this year will be particularly special."
Mrs Rix is running a fundraiser to celebrate her 15 years since diagnosis where all the money raised will go to the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute (FECRI).
Last year, she raised $2000 by creating and selling masks for the Ballarat-based institute.
Previously she has also run fundraising celebrating five years and 10 years since her first diagnosis.
"I'm doing any and as much fundraising as I can do," she said. "When it was five years it was all about collecting 5 cent pieces, then at 10 years it was 10c.
"Now the 15 years, it can be donate anything - 15 cents, $15, it doesn't matter.
"Any donation is worth its weight in gold and I want it all to go locally, so I'm keen to set up an account where every cent can go locally."
If you wish to donate to the fundraiser for FECRI, you can email Mrs Rix at firstname.lastname@example.org