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Relaying an important message

Cancer survivor Barbara Pinter with Antoinetie Dervan, both of Byron Bay.
Cancer survivor Barbara Pinter with Antoinetie Dervan, both of Byron Bay.

WHEN Rosie Brown discovered she had breast cancer five years ago she couldn’t face breaking the terrible news to her two children – so in stepped her best friend, Marie Dudgeon.

Not only did Marie break the news to the children, she also took on the pivotal role of caring for Rosie through the harrowing journey of a breast mastectomy, chemotherapy and subsequent recovery.

And she will be there for her friend again as Rosie undergoes a breast reconstruction in May.

“You really find out who your true friends are when cancer happens,” Rosie said.

“You can’t do it (cancer) on your own. You need friends and family to support you.”

“I would cook for her, organised and took her to medical appointments. The chemotherapy was the most dreadful thing,” Marie recalled.

“I did a lot, but I wasn’t allowed to shower her,” she laughed.

“It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been through this, but it’s deepened our friendship,” Marie said

On Saturday the two Bangalow women, who have been friends for over 20 years now, proudly wore their ‘Carer’ and ‘Survivor’ sashes as they took part in the Relay For Life event at Bangalow Showground.

The relay had more than 200 people taking part, Byron Shire Relay for Life Chairperson Rex Butler said.

“This is about spreading awareness of cancer as much as raising funds to support research,” he said.

“You look around here and see all these people wearing sashes and you realise just how many people have been touched by cancer.”

For Rosie Brown surviving cancer has taught her many lessons, including taking good care of herself.

“It’s not often that you get a second chance at life,” she said.


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