Hairdresser's life touched by cancer
CANCER touches many lives, and this mother daughter duo is taking their positive attitudes to the streets to raise awareness this weekend.
Helen Rimmington and her daughter Lauren have been styling the locks of Bundaberg men and women for many years, but when Helen received a call back from a routine mammogram in March, her life changed.
"I had no symptoms, no lumps, no nothing,” she said.
"I had a call back on my mammogram and from there it all just ended up where I am today. I think I'm one of the lucky ones because mine was picked up so early.”
The businesswoman finished the last session of her 12-week chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday and said she felt like the worst was behind her.
"The whole thing is surreal, it's just like it's a bad dream and I'm going to wake up one day and wonder where I've been for the past 12 months,” she said. "I'm glad that part of it's over, but I've still got to have radiation and further treatment for the next nine months.
"I won't actually finish until June next year, but I think I've finished the biggest part, the chemo is the most intense because of the symptoms that come with it.”
The hairdresser decided to travel to Brisbane once a week for the treatment in a bid to keep her hair - and it worked.
"As a woman, your hair is your everything and I just couldn't imagine looking in a mirror and seeing me, I would have been devastated to have no hair.
"In Brisbane at the Mater cancer care unit they have a machine called a scalp cooling system which is a cap that goes on your head and it cools your head down to -5 degrees and protects the blood flow.
"When I walked out of there (on Wednesday) I thought, I've done it.”
The pair participated in the Cane to Coral 10km event where Lauren arranged group shirts, to be used again this Sunday for the Walk for Women's Cancer event.
"It was just to have a bit of a fun time, especially because everything's so negative around breast cancer, it's a traumatic experience for everyone involved, so I got these shirts made,” Lauren said.
"We got a lot of hype and a lot of people asked where they could buy the shirts, so I think it was a pretty good outcome.”
Mrs Rimmington has her future post-cancer sights on raising money to bring a head cooling device to Bundaberg, but for the moment, it's "onwards and upwards.”
"If there's one thing I could say to women, it's to do your screening and just stay vigilant. If I had have left my mammogram to a more convenient time, I probably would have been terminal by Christmas.”