BETH Whaanga, face of the Under the Red Dress Project, has united in pink to take on women’s cancers this October as Cancer Council’s Ambassador for Women’s Cancers.
Known for the powerful photos of her double mastectomy posted on Facebook earlier this year, Beth is sharing her story to help the one in six Queensland women who will be diagnosed with a women’s cancer in their lifetime.
As Cancer Council Ambassador for Women’s Cancers, Beth urged all Queensland women to unite in pink this October in support of all women affected by cancer.
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“In November last year I discovered several lumps in my breast after diagnostic testing. I am also a carrier of the BRCA 2 gene and have a family history of breast cancer,” Beth said.
“Shortly after, I underwent a total bilateral mastectomy and TRAM flap reconstruction. My surgery was painful and my recovery was long and tough.
“As part of my healing process, to make me more comfortable in my skin, my best friend took photos of my scars. My scars aren’t ugly. They mean that I’m alive, and thriving.
“Cancer doesn’t define me. It was a part of my life, but not anymore. I want to do everything to stop any woman having to make the decisions I have.”
Around 3900 Queensland women will be diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer this year alone and about 800 will die from these women’s cancers.
Beth has encouraged all Queenslanders to support Pink Ribbon Day, host or attend a Pink Ribbon fundraiser throughout October, or volunteer to sell merchandise.
“I want every woman to know that it’s important not to be scared of their body. Women’s cancers and screening aren’t taboo and we need to talk about it,” Beth said.
“Know your body and what’s normal for you and get checked regularly. Cancer Council Queensland is here to help you and thousands of women all across Queensland.
“What does Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day mean to me? It means I’m fighting fit. Pink means getting out there and not being afraid. It means I’m in charge of my life and I can do anything that I want to do.
“Pink means strength – and nothing will beat us. Together we are stronger. Together we can take on women’s cancers.”
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said getting the girls together to help beat all women’s cancers was an easy and fun way to make a difference.
“One in six Queensland women being diagnosed with a women’s cancer in their lifetime is one in six too many,” Ms Clift said.
“It’s time for us to unite in the fight, don a bit of pink, and get serious about raising awareness of women’s cancers.
“All funds raised support our vital work each year in women’s cancer research, education and support programs.”
This year Cancer Council aims to raise $9.47 million through Pink Ribbon Day and Pink Ribbon Fundraising events.
Unite in pink this October – buy pink, register to host a Girls’ Night In or Pink Ribbon Fundraiser, donate or volunteer on Pink Ribbon Day – Monday October 27.
More information is available via pinkribbon.com.au or 1300 65 65 85.