Why Gillian is walking her feet off for women’s cancer research

Gillian was so excited about joining the Cherish Challenge Larapinta, she was the first person to register. Just a year earlier, the prospect of hiking to raise funds for gynaecological cancer research, was the furthest thing from her mind. Although she has done some serious trails, Gillian has never done one for charity before. So why now?

Join Gillian by registering for the trek here at Huma Charity Challenge.

In winter last year, Gillian was unwell. She knew something wasn’t right because she was bleeding most of the time, and it was getting worse. It had been an issue for several years, but Gillian’s GP didn’t seem concerned. As a mother of two young sons and working in a demanding role, Gillian simply thought ‘she’ll be right!”. But she wasn’t.

Gillian found a female GP who she could talk with. “She got on to it straight away. She explained that I shouldn’t be having these issues. Before I knew it, I was having scans, seeing a specialist, and heading into surgery,” Gillian says. “I was really scared. I cried a lot, especially at home at night. I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk to. But I was also almost too ashamed to talk about it because my condition was gynaecologically related.”

“I didn’t speak to my boys about my health until after my diagnosis. I didn’t want to frighten them, but the first thing that my youngest said to me was, ‘have you got cancer?’ Thankfully, I was able to say, Mum’s on top of her health.”

“I will be forever grateful to my new GP who urged me to prioritise my health,” Gillian says. “It meant I got the attention I needed before any cancer had developed. I still have a chronic condition that requires six and 12 monthly check-ups, but my diagnosis could have been so much worse.”

“Thankfully, I ended up in the safe hands of Professor Obermair for treatment. He asked me if I’d do the trek to Everest Base Camp, but the timing wasn’t right. I promised I’d do the next one. I love hiking, and this is my opportunity to get more people talking about gynaecological cancer.”

Gillian was a little worried people would question her about her health. “There’s still a certain stigma associated with women’s gynaecological health, but that has made me more determined. “I want to walk my little feet off for research, so women won’t have to be ashamed.”

“My aunt died of uterine cancer,” Gillian says. “She bled for years before going to the doctor at 79 years of age. By then, it was too late, and cancer had spread through her body. Her generation did not talk about these issues. We can’t continue the same way.”

Gillian runs a building and property development company. “Fundraising for gynaecological cancer in an industry dominated by men is no easy task,” Gillian laughs. “But I’ve made a start and already raised $1,100. I’m doing it in good spirit. I know the target is $3,500, but I’m aiming for $6,000. I hope I can get there by Christmas.”

Please help Gillian walk her little feet off for research, visit Gillian’s fundraising page.