When Sam Jones participates in the survivors' walk at next year’s Shellharbour Relay for Life, she expects a multitude of thoughts to run through her head.
“It'll be how lucky I am, and that I followed my gut instinct to follow it up,” she told the Mercury.
“If I didn't, I would have had a bigger battle on my hands.
“Some days I still can't believe I had breast cancer.
“(It’ll also be) everything I was going through; watching my Mum in palliative care and everything like that was just heartbreaking.”
Last September, the 47-year-old Shell Cove resident was diagnosed with grade three breast cancer.
Having undergone treatment, she’s currently in remission.
After initial testing she was misdiagnosed. However, she said intuition led her to see a specialist – and soon her fears were confirmed.
“He sent me for an urgent biopsy... I followed my gut feeling that something wasn’t right.
“I like to tell people, if they think something’s there, if they think something’s not right, follow it up.
“Go with your gut feeling if you’re not sure.”
Compounding her cancer battle was her mother Sandra’s death in March, aged 75, from lung cancer.
Mrs Jones started radiation treatment a week after her mother died.
Her aunt was also diagnosed with breast cancer a week after she was, and is still undergoing treatment.
Mrs Jones will be an ambassador at next year’s Shellharbour Relay for Life.
The 2019 Shellharbour Relay will take place on April 6–7 at Tom (Scout) Willoughby Oval, Shellharbour.
Relay for Life is a 24-hour event raising funds for Cancer Council NSW.
“Back then when I went, we'd never really been through anything like that in our family, so I think I'm more passionate about things like that now,” she said of attending previous Relays.
“(Recent times) have put things into perspective, what's important in life, and not to sweat the small things.
“Live life and enjoy life, because things can change dramatically.”
She said her friends and family, including 11-year-old daughter Abbey and husband of 19 years, Tony, had been invaluable in their support during her cancer battle.
She plans to enlist them all as part of a large team for the Relay.
Registrations are now open for the Shellharbour event, which will have the theme of “life’s a beach”.
Funds raised will go towards Cancer Council’s local services for cancer patients and carers, including accommodation, transport to treatment and the 131 120 information and support line.