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Vera knows first-hand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on a family. In 2010 her mother (also Vera) was diagnosed with breast cancer which changed her world.
“When I found out my mother had cancer I felt so helpless as we were worlds apart. She is from Brazil and I’m in Australia and I couldn’t go back to see her,” says Vera.
“I knew that my father, brother and sister-in-law would take good care of her but all I wanted to do was be with her when she first found out.
“I remember at first mum was saying Why me? Why is this happening to me? I’ve done nothing wrong, I can’t understand why this has happened. But now she always says that she knows why—it was so she could help other people going through the same thing.
“It was such a hard time for me because all I wanted to do was be there for her but she just told me I’m good here, I’m being well treated and well looked after—you don’t need to worry. But I still couldn’t pass the feeling of being helpless,” says Vera.
Eight years on, and after quite a few visits to see one another, Vera’s mum is now in remission and no longer needs to take regular medication, she just needs to have check-ups once a year.
“My mother is such a strong person—she’s now healthy and I’m so proud of her and how amazing she is. Even though she went through a horrible time, she now sees the positive and helps people. That’s why it’s now my turn to help,” say Vera.
When Vera’s friend suggested that she should sign up to this year’s Bridge to Brisbane, Vera jumped at the opportunity to be part of Team Mater and support Mater Chicks in Pink.
“This is the first time I’ve done a 10 km event and I’m going to try and run as far as I can … it’s for such a good cause and I’m willing to push myself for it.”
Vera has a goal of raising $700 to help provide personalised support services to women with breast cancer and fund vital cancer research at Mater. And she’s already taking the steps to kick-start her fundraising by sharing her story with her family and friends.
“The support we as a community provide and the research we help to fund is very important. Any little bit helps and we need to get involved. Life is hard, and a cancer diagnosis makes it that much harder—we need to help one another and make it a bit easier.
“It’s a nice feeling of having people to help. It’s not much for me but it will make a difference for people with breast cancer. This is my turn to help and I’m looking forward to it,” says Vera
You can visit Vera’s fundraising page here.
If you’re interested in joining Vera and Team Mater at this year’s Bridge to Brisbane to raise funds for women with breast cancer through Mater Chicks in Pink, you can sign up here. There are also a limited number of VIP charity spots available—contact Amy Britten from Mater Foundation on (07) 3163 8000 to reserve your spot now!