Farmer on cancer awareness mission

Zoe KeenanCountryman
Belynda Mills with her sons Noah, 3, and Flynn, 5.
Camera IconBelynda Mills with her sons Noah, 3, and Flynn, 5. Credit: Justine Rowe

Mullewa farmer Belynda Mills is one of three women selected as WA’s first group of ambassadors for breast cancer awareness project So Brave.

The national project began in 2015 and chief executive and founder Rachelle Panitz said the aim was to teach young women in particular that women of any age could get breast cancer.

“Young women have been diagnosed late because they believe it’s an elderly women’s disease but we all need to be aware of our bodies and health regardless of age,” she said. This year is the first year So Brave will be active in WA and Mrs Mills said she was honoured to be selected as an ambassador.

It was in October 2016 when Mrs Mills, 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer. “My youngest son Noah accidentally knocked the side of my left breast and I felt a lump, I had tests done and was diagnosed,” she said.

Six long months of chemotherapy and making gruelling trips to Perth and back was made harder for Mrs Mills during the family’s busiest time of the year, harvest.

“We’d just started harvest when I went into chemo, but our community organiseda busy-bee and several farmers in town helped out so we could finish harvest quicker and my husband could be with me,” she said.

Mrs Mills had two surgeries and later learnt she had a complete pathologicalresponse to the chemotherapy and was given the all- clear. “As a busy mum, checking my breasts is the last thing I’d think to do,” she said.

“I was very lucky that Noah actually helped me discover the lump, he probably saved my life.”

The project is running the hashtag “#feelitonthefifth” to encourage women to check their breasts on the fifth day of every month.

Mrs Mills will fly to Papua New Guinea in May to trek the Kokoda trail to raise funds.

Donate at sobrave.com.au/campaigns/kokoda.

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