Val's story

When life changes in an instant

Val and best friend Jude pose by statue of mad hatter's tea party.

Standing in the shower one Friday morning, Val felt a lump on her breast.

Although she wasn’t overly concerned, she mentioned it to her best friend Jude and husband, Keith.

“They were both more alarmed than I was, and said I needed to see my doctor the following day,” Val said.

The 54-year-old said she’d make an appointment the following week, but her loved ones insisted.

Ten days later, Val went for a mammogram and in an instant, everything changed.

“They started talking about cancer; I’d taken an hour off work to have a mammogram and then found out I wouldn’t be going back to work for more than nine months,” Val said.

Val needed a mastectomy, followed by months of intense chemotherapy and radiation.

“What got to me the most was losing my nipple—I remember them saying that they were going to take my breast and I asked if I could keep the nipple. They said ‘no’,” Val said, tears welling up in her eyes.

“I’d always been so proud of my boobs and then suddenly, when I got out of bed, I’d be confronted with the mirror. I had a bald head, no eyebrows and no boob.”

They started talking about cancer; I’d taken an hour off work to have a mammogram and then found out I wouldn’t be going back for more than nine months.

Val, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012

Thankfully, Mater Chicks in Pink were there to help Val out with big and little things.

“Mater Chicks in Pink helped me buy a wig and mastectomy bras. They also gave me parking vouchers for my (many) visits to the hospital,” Val said.

“Having the mastectomy bra and prosthesis made me feel heaps better; I felt a bit normal and in the end I had three bras which I referred to as ‘my friends’; one for gym, one for going out and one for swimming.”

“Having done the RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run before, I was already familiar with Mater Chicks in Pink. Little did I know I would one day be on the receiving end!”

Val completed radiation on New Years’ Eve 2013 and underwent reconstructive surgery in January 2015.

“I’m still going through that now; they recently gave me a nipple, but there’s still a bit of tweaking to do,” she laughed.

Providing a woman with a mastectomy bra after surgery costs just $105, but it truly can change the world of a woman with breast cancer.  A woman like Val. Your support of Mater Chicks in Pink is making the world of difference to women with breast cancer at Mater.


Mater Chicks in Pink

By supporting Mater Chicks in Pink you'll be making an immediate impact on women being treated for breast cancer, by funding tangible and timely support services like counselling and mastectomy bras—at a time when they need it most. Your funds will also support the work of researchers at Mater Research, who are working on the causes of, and developing potentially life-saving treatment for breast cancer.