Relay for life: Rocky cancer survivor fighting for a cure
NO ONE should have to experience the devastation of cancer time and time again - which is why Linda Gardiner is determined to fund research so more families are spared the heartache.
The Rockhampton local lost her father at the young age of five, and her mother endured breast and uterine cancers, until she passed away from pancreatic cancer four years ago.
Her family was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation which gives people an increased chance of developing certain cancers in a lifetime.
"I was having regular mammograms because of my family history and the syndrome,” Linda said.
"There was a noticeable difference between my two breasts, but nothing was being picked up in the mammograms.
"I persisted with my GP, who recommended an ultrasound - I then had a biopsy and within a few days I knew I had breast cancer.
"That same day, I found out I would be having a grandchild, so I knew I had to get through this to meet her.”
Linda then had a mastectomy, followed by six months of chemotherapy and two months of radiation.
She is also on hormone suppressants indefinitely, and her brother is currently undergoing treatment for cancer as well.
"It is ten times harder to watch someone go through cancer than it is to go through yourself - when it's yourself, it's a lot easier to accept,” Linda said
"Given the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer, there is highly probable chance I will be diagnosed with cancer again.
"Until then, I am just trying to live my life to the fullest, and be an advocate for cancer research and support.”
In recognition of her amazing spirit and determination, Linda has been named one of the Faces of Relay for the 2018 Rockhampton Relay For Life, held May 19-20 at the CQUniversity grounds.
The Face of Relay is a symbol of hope - inspiring others and giving hope to all cancer patients, hope for loved ones lost and hope for a cancer free future.
Linda will lead the survivors and carers lap to officially open the 16th annual Rockhampton Relay.
"I am so honoured to be one of the Faces of Relay this year,” she said.
"I am a very strong advocate for Cancer Council Queensland, given cancer has touched so many in my family - I hope we can keep funding research to find cures and prevention.
"Going through cancer, you receive so much support, so I hope that as Face, I can help bring something positive to the journey, share in people's stories and support and enable them to keep going.”
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said Linda embodied the spirit of Relay For Life.
"Linda is passionate about reaching out to others and supporting them through cancer - that is what Relay For Life is all about,” Ms McMillan said.
"Every minute, every hour, every day we are getting closer to a cancer free future, and with the help of local Relayers we can get there sooner.
"All funds raised at Rockhampton Relay For Life will support our vital work in research, prevention and support."
Rockhampton Relay For Life is an event where teams of friends, families and colleagues raise money in the lead up to an overnight event. Team members take turns walking around a track to signify that cancer never sleeps.
To register a team, volunteer or find out more, visit www.relayforlife.org.au or call 1300 65 65 85.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via www.canceqld.org.au or 13 11 20.