Mum standing strong after harrowing experience
THE past five years have been a harrowing experience for Narelle Finn, but the Bundaberg mum of two is adamant there's life after grief.
Mrs Finn lost both her parents to cancer in that time and almost died herself while giving birth to her youngest child after an allergic reaction to an anaesthetic that doctors said would leave her with brain damage.
But through the carnage has come something kind of wonderful.
Inspired by her mum's love of gardening, and with a little inheritance money, Mrs Finn and her husband Damian started Mumma's Garden - a pick-me-up for anyone touched by cancer.
Each week for 12 months the couple will send a bunch of flowers to those that are suffering as a way of spreading kindness across the country.
"I suffered with really bad depression when dad died and I promised mum I'd be okay (when she passed away). So I had to find a way to keep that promise without letting grief overtake me," Mrs Finn said.
Mumma's Garden is an adjunct to Narelle's blog Strong Mumma, which she began as a way to "empower women, motivating them and bringing them together".
"It started as a fitness blog and morphed as my life's changed," she said.
Despite all this charitable work, Mrs Finn felt that more could be done.
So through her blog she began a new fundraising venture called Stay Strong - a range of activewear for women emblazoned with the powerful slogan.
Mrs Finn teamed up with ARK Sportswear for the range and profits will go directly towards what Mrs Finn is calling her "Chemo Care Kits".
Each kit will include thoughtful and necessary items for women going through chemotherapy treatment, including skin care, warm socks and a journal to document their treatment.
"It's just little things to make that transition easier," she said.
The range of activewear includes a tank, t-shirt and four styles of tights that can be pre-ordered from her website.
The response so far, she said, had been encouraging.
"I've had orders in the last week from women all over Australia," she said.
"It's been so healing for my heart. It's been so cathartic. I can't bring mum and dad back but if I can bring a smile to someone's face then that's totally worthwhile."
Three Bundaberg women and another from Maryborough - all cancer survivors - have fronted the Stay Strong campaign, modelling the activewear for Mrs Finn's website.
"It was important that this range be marketed by the women that it was designed to help," Mrs Finn said.
The pre-sale ends on Sunday. To purchase the activewear or read more, visit www.strongmumma.