Brave face encourages community to make worthy contribution
For most young adults, the year they turn 18 is one to remember as it marks a new beginning, but for Molly Dawson it was the year she received a devastating diagnosis.
Working as a teacher aide at her former high school Shalom College during her then gap year, Ms Dawson discovered a concerning lump on her collarbone.
The young Bundaberg woman's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, after months of testing.
"Before I was diagnosed, I was lucky to have never had a close connection to cancer - none of my relatives or friends had experienced it," Ms Dawson said.
"When you're young, you never expect it to be you, so it can be hard to think that it can happen to anybody, at any age."
Following the initial diagnosis, Ms Dawson commenced what would be eight long months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and was eventually put into remission.
Now the brave survivor is preparing for the Cancer Council's Relay For Life virtual event next month, where she will fulfil her role as the local face of the campaign.
"Relay For Life is a way of spreading that awareness and starting the conversation about the importance of knowing your body and knowing when to speak up when you notice something off or different," Ms Dawson said.
As Bundaberg Relay For Life's Face of Relay 2020, Ms Dawson hopes to encourage the community, especially young locals, to get involved.
"Relay For Life is not just a 'cancer event' - it's a special experience that brings the community together to lift each other up."
After participating in the relay for years to raise funds for the worthy cause, Ms Dawson said her own experience has changed how she feels about the event.
"They really are unforgettable events; I can still remember all Relays I've been to as such fun and heartfelt experiences," she said.
"This year I'm looking forward to walking my own way - I've gathered some colleagues to walk around the school with me.
"I'm also excited in a way to get emotional and watch the candlelight ceremony … it's such a special way to acknowledge the impact of cancer on ourselves, our loved ones, and our community."
The virtual event will be live streamed on the Facebook event page on August 8, from 3pm to 7pm.
For more information, visit secure.fundraising.cancer.org.au