Dee was living her dream life as a Ranger on Fraser Island when she found her family’s past quickly catching up with her.
“My mum died from breast cancer in 1993 having survived it several times. Her first diagnosis was when I was only young, and her last diagnosis was around Christmas 1992. There was nothing to celebrate that year, “Dee told us.”
“Then when I was diagnosed in 2007, telling my sister and father was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make.”
Dee’s news acted as a warning for the women of her family. Within months Dee’s sister and cousin back in England had both been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I felt a sense of guilt for scaring them, for reminding them to do the necessary check-ups for cancer. But it was mixed with immense relief that they were diagnosed quickly enough for treatments to be effective.
“We all went through surgeries and treatments at the same time, me in Australia and them in England. My sister did the sweetest thing – she sent emails to my friends in Australia asking them to look after me when we couldn’t physically be there for each other.”
“It was my music and the love and support of friends and family who didn’t give up on me, when I had almost given up on myself.”
“Before I had cancer, I was always a bit of a grump at New Year – I tended to think that life was passing me by. Now I’m different. I can say: ‘Another year gone – look what I have achieved.’ I can’t wait for the next one to begin!”