Have fun and raise funds this Mother’s Day

| May 9, 2014

This Sunday the Mother’s Day Classic fun run and walk will support research into breast cancer treatment and prevention. Michelle McLean is leading the Boardroom Challenge as top fundraiser nationally and has a very personal reason to do so.

Having been a little girl who lost my mother to breast cancer 36 years ago at the age of 10, I recognise how devastating breast cancer can be and the long term impact it has on families.

The impact is not confined to the person suffering the disease. It devastates children left without a mum and grief-stricken fathers trying to manage the load of sole parenting while mourning the loss of a wife.

I have no doubt that Mum would have survived had she been diagnosed today. There was little awareness in 1978, and research has progressed immeasurably.

I’m committed to this very important cause: to raise funds to assist with the invaluable research into this prevalent disease, a disease that is diagnosed for as many as 47 Australian women each day.

That’s why this weekend I’m taking part in the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic – funds go directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation promoting and supporting research into breast cancer treatment and prevention.

Since the event began in 1998, $19.8million has been raised for research that has impacted the treatment and outcomes not only for breast cancer patients but for other cancers as well, including ovarian cancer and melanoma.

My Mum, Denise, was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 5 and had more surgery when I was 6. She had a period in remission, but when I was 10 a secondary tumour was found on her brain.

I cherish a Christmas Day photo – my last with Mum. After Christmas she got really sick. I remember being sent to Barwon Heads for the summer with Nan because Mum was not feeling well.

By February, when we were back at school, Mum was in hospital for treatment most days. It was not a great time. But I never thought she would die, that was the biggest shock.

I felt resentful at school. How was I supposed to participate, when the teacher would set a project on why your Mum is the best Mum in the world?

After Mum died, our family really didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Until I had my own child it was simply not a day we celebrated. I didn’t want Mother’s Day to be a big event. My husband convinced me to start celebrating for our daughter, so I concealed my unhappy memories, for the sake of my daughter.

My daughter, Jordan Jessica, is now 9 and my hope is that the disease will be far more understood and manageable by the time she is an adult.

I count my blessings every day that I have the gift of motherhood and the privilege of good health. This gives me the opportunity to raise my beautiful daughter and be here for her.

The experience of my Mum Denise has encouraged me to take a proactive approach to my health. I’ve been under the care of a specialist since I was 20 and had a suspicious lump removed in 2001.

I’d like to invite you all to join me – and 125,000 others – this Sunday May 11 to walk or run at an event that is a lot of family fun and has become an integral part of Mothers’ Day for so many.

As well as the actual run, I’m taking part in the inaugural Boardroom Challenge for the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, an initiative to encourage the participation of corporate Australia in fundraising for vital research.

I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and proud to lead the Boardroom Challenge as top fundraiser nationally.