Sally Haley and Belinda Cosgrove have travelled a journey together that many of us would not envy.
A McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse for two years, Sally from Gladstone, Queensland has supported many people with breast cancer in her local area. Belinda Cosgrove, 44, from Gladstone is one of the many people diagnosed with breast cancer Sally has supported over the years.
Sally has been providing invaluable physical, emotional and physiological support for many families in Gladstone and surrounding areas. Sally says the most rewarding part of being a McGrath Breast Care Nurse is meeting incredibly strong and resilient people – including her patients, their family and friends. “The lovely thing about my role is getting to know the patients and their network that help them deal with the process. Educating the family members and close friends on how they can support their loved one is a really important part of what I do,” says Sally. “In my job, I see rewarding things every day. Just last week, one of my patients hugged me with tears of happiness, just because she felt so supported. To have the opportunity to be there for her and her family during such a difficult time is honestly the best reward,” Sally adds.
Belinda was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2017. At the time her immediate reaction was disbelief, but with the support of Sally, together they got through it one day at a time. “When I was told of my diagnosis, my husband and I were in complete shock. It honestly felt like the world was trying to swallow me whole. I remember turning to my husband and saying ‘how am I going to tell mum?” “My mum was looking after my son Max, who was 10 at the time, while we went to the doctor and when I told her the news wasn’t good, she had the same reaction I did. She just didn’t believe the diagnosis was correct,” Belinda confessed.
When talking about her McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Belinda said, “Sally brings a sense of normalcy to the whole situation. She was there on the morning of my operation and she really helped me understand the medical terminology, and what to expect. The support Sally offers never stops either. She rings me every week to see how I’m doing because when you’re healing, you have good days and some really low days. Sally is very aware of that.”
Sally’s support has been instrumental in Belinda’s recovery. “I honestly don’t know how I would’ve coped without her – everyone with breast cancer should have ‘a Sally’ and it makes me incredibly sad to think there are people out there that don’t have access to someone like her,” Belinda adds.
This year, 50 people are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Australia. Whether it’s your aunt, your neighbour, or your child’s school teacher, everyone will know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. McGrath Breast Care Nurses provide vital support not only for the person experiencing breast cancer but also for the family and friends who are affected by their loved one’s breast cancer diagnosis. Throughout the month of October, events will be held to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer awareness.