"I wish I didn't have breast cancer, I wish no one had cancer but I hope some people will find my story reassuring. I'm not defined by breast cancer: it's something that happened to me, but it's not who I am."
When 30 year old Brisbane naturopath Kerry Hodge, noticed a small lump on her chest she wasn't too concerned as she thought it was due to hormonal changes in her body as her and her husband were trying for a family, plus she was too young to have breast cancer.
"We decided to go and see our GP who requested a biopsy and further testing and a few days after the biopsy I received a call from the doctor's office: I had breast cancer."
Kerry underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and a reconstruction. The treatments and surgery took a toll on her physical and mental well-being; she lost all of her hair including her eyebrows and lashes, she felt nauseous, weak and absent minded at times and compared it to a woman thirty years her senior, as her healthy body and mind became a distant memory and menopause took over.
For Kerry it's been a slow road to recovery, as her body gets stronger every month, it also becomes weaker with side effects from hormone therapy.
"Having the support of my amazing husband, family and friends behind me has meant the world, I have met some amazing girls through this process and I have formed even stronger relationships with those that I love and for this I would not take back anything.
"My message to all women is to make sure you do regular self-checks and have a mammogram if required because the earlier you find it the better chances of survival.
"I'd like to thank all the staff and customers of ALH for their continued support of Project Pink throughout the year…..raising funds for research is the key to saving lives. Without your commitment and dedication to helping find cures and better treatments many women would lose their battle so please don't give up on me and others like me…we need you!!"