Nicole Hebbard was aged just 21 when she lost her mother to breast cancer.
The disease robbed Nicole of the chance to share her adult life with her precious Mum, Glenda and it meant her three sons Cooper, Toby and Jacob would never meet their Grandmother.
It’s a tragedy that Nicole wants no one else to experience and when she laces up to complete the gruelling 42km Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer event on May 2, she’ll be fuelled on by her Mother’s memory.
Her mum was aged 41 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease claimed her life at age 48.
The event raises money for the esteemed Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research which carries out essential cancer research.
Nicole, aged 42, will represent Hawaiian’s Noranda in the event, walking with Team Grateful.
The tentacles of cancer have pervaded into Nicole’s own life and 10 years ago she made the difficult decision to have her breasts removed in an elective double mastectomy in the hope of reducing her own chances of developing the disease.
“It was a tough decision, but if it gave me an extra 20 years with my boys - that I never had with my Mum - then it is worth every bit of pain,” Nicole says.
“I did what I had to do for the chance to be around for longer than perhaps my Mum was. It is like an insurance, it’s not guaranteed, but it gives me a much better opportunity.”
Participants in the Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer must each raise a minimum of $1000 and these fundraising dollars will go to research programs at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
“Medical research is so important because it is the future. I think about my kids in 20 years’ time and the research and fundraising we do now will enable a better future for them should any of them get cancer or an illness; we have got to act now before it is too late,” Nicole says.
She hopes for a cure for breast cancer.
“If I could eradicate one women’s cancer it would be breast cancer; it is such a visual disease if you lose one or both breasts – it affects your femininity, your self-esteem and your self-worth.
“I was just 21 years old when my Mum died, and I think that is far too young to be losing a parent.
“I am walking so no one else loses their Mum to cancer.”
To register for the walk or to make a donation, please visit: https://www.walkforwomenscancer.org.au/