Annette's story

When does a mother find time to be sick?

Mothers have to be everything to everyone.  No matter what time of day, mothers are there when and wherever they’re needed. Every day at Breast Cancer Care WA we see mothers, wives,daughters and sisters facing the hugely life challenging questions of breast cancer. For mothers, the most heart wrenching question is, ‘What about my children?’.


Annette dotes on her three grandchildren, two of whom are daughter Linda’s little boy Ethan 3 and baby Reece aged 6 months. As hard working school cleaners in Geraldton, Annette and her hubby Gary were looking forward to the day when they could slow down and enjoy their grandchildren and the golden years ahead. But Annette and Gary’s lives were turned upside down when their adorable little grandson Ethan was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2012. All Annette could think of was how she could help heavily pregnant Linda, care for her little boy in the fight of his life.

Wanting to do anything and everything she could to care for and support her precious daughter and grandson, Annette moved down to Perth lend a hand when baby Reece was born in January.

With Annette having to put aside work to be in Perth, her finances were very tight, but Ethan and the new baby were everyone’s number one priority when the family was hit with another huge shock. Less than two months after her second grandson was born Annette was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I just couldn’t believe it says Annette. “I felt so angry. What had I done to deserve this! All I wanted to do was help my family. I didn’t have time to be sick!”

Within weeks Annette underwent a single mastectomy. It’s a devastating experience for anyone. For Annette it was made even worse by having to be away from home and unable to help Linda and her family as much as she would dearly have loved to do.

Annette with baby
Everyone has different needs

At Breast Cancer Care WA we understand that every woman’s life is different. When they call us for the first time there are so many questions that we will work through with them. For Annette the most important thing for her was how she could continue to support her daughter as little Ethan continued with his own battle against cancer.

People like Gary and Annette don’t earn a lot of money so when breast cancer strikes, the cost of travel, accommodation and the simple day to day expenses of living can create real stress when they really need to be focusing on just getting well.

Thanks to your support we have been able to help Annette with financial support to pay for fuel for her car and put food on the table. The phone is her lifeline she says. Being able to talk to Gary on the phone when she is in Perth for treatment, and talk to Linda in Perth while she’s resting back in Geraldton, are vital to her. Thanks to you we’ve been able to help with those costs too.

Annette has now completed her chemotherapy and is now onto radiation therapy. With all the worry she’s had about little Ethan, losing her breast and being away from home, Annette has naturally felt pretty miserable at times. We can’t wave a magic wand and make it all go away but what we can do is make women like Annette feel special for a day. 

Where to now for Annette and Ethan

Fortunately Ethan’s prognosis is good. He completed his intense chemotherapy treatment in August but he and his family will still have to travel to Perth each month for the next two and half years for blood tests until he’s given the big all clear. Annette will have to stay in Perth while she undergoes radiation therapy but she’s really looking forward to attending a gala ball in Geraldton with Linda and her family, where their little hero Ethan will be one of the special guests. She doesn’t know how she and Linda will afford formal gowns to wear, but we’re going to try to see what we can do to help.

There’s so much we want to do for women like Annette and it's only thanks to your help that we are able to.