Three sisters who each battled and defeated cancer have urged the community to support this weekend’s Shellharbour Relay for Life.
The event raises funds for the Cancer Council.
Siblings Gail Bailey, 65, of Warrawong, Lake Illawarra’s Susan Ellem, 61, and Albion Park’s Lynda Klein, 59, have all survived breast cancer.
Mrs Bailey also had kidney and bladder cancer seven years ago.
‘‘They assume that we inherited it,’’ Mrs Bailey said of breast cancer.
‘‘I did and Lynda did, but Sue didn’t [have the gene].
‘‘Our mother doesn’t have it and no-one on our father’s side.
‘‘I was first to get it and I thought only old people got it, as it wasn’t as out there and known at the time.
‘‘When Lynda got it she rang me. I helped her and we supported each other. Then when Susan got it we were all there for her as well.’’
Mrs Ellem said the family had never played the ‘‘why us?’’ game.
‘‘[When diagnosed] I was told to seek a support person – so I rang these two,’’ she said, glancing at her sisters. ‘‘It’s brought us a lot closer together. You can look at it as a test, and you’ve survived.
‘‘Not a day goes by where we don’t speak to each other.
‘‘All three of us know what we’ve been through, and appreciate each other more.’’
Shellharbour Relay for Life will take place at Albion Park Showground on Saturday and Sunday.
Anyone can register or donate at relayforlife.org.au, on 4223 0200 or on Saturday.