Michelle Sollom said hearing the words ‘your daughter has cancer’ is “paralysing”.
The hopelessness and fear felt on the day the mother-of-three was told her 15-year-old daughter Annaliese was diagnosed with cancer is still clear in her mind.
Ms Sollom and her family will join the thousands walking laps around Castle Hill Showground this weekend as part of the Hills Relay for Life in honour of those who are fighting, survived or lost their battle against cancer.
The registered nurse said she has seen first-hand what a cancer diagnosis can do to an individual and their family.
“It is not until it affects your own loved ones that you can truly understand the hopelessness that comes with that diagnosis,” she said.
Annaliese, now 20, is doing well, and Ms Sollom said she counts herself lucky so wants to do what she can.
It was their own personal brush with cancer which spurred on Ms Sollom and her family to join the fight against cancer.
“Relay for Life is our opportunity to fight back against cancer and hopefully make a positive impact on the prevalence of cancer diagnosis in the future by raising funds for the Cancer Council NSW,” Ms Sollom said. “This money helps fund the vital research in early diagnosis and innovative treatments as well as providing much needed support services for current oncology patients in our local community.”
Since its inception in 2001, the event has raised more than $3.5 million for cancer research and support programs.
“As a strong and compassionate community, I feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to fight back against cancer,” Ms Sollom said. “We want to support those who have been touched by cancer, we need to celebrate the survivors who have fought and won, and we want to remember and honour those we have tragically lost. We relay because others can’t.”
The 24-hour event begins on Saturday at 9.30am with cancer survivors and carers leading the first lap. Register/donate: relayforlife.org.au and search Hills Relay for Life 2017.