When Warrnambool's Marika Holmes found a lump in her breast just 19 months after a mammogram had given her the all-clear, it was the start of a rollercoaster journey.
A mum to eight-year-old Meredith, Mrs Holmes spend Mother's Day participating in the foreshore Classic walk/run to help raise money for breast cancer research.
She said early detection was the key, and encouraged women over 40 to book in for a mammogram.
Mrs Holmes was 46 when she was diagnosed with stage 2 estrogen receptor positive breast cancer in July last year.
"I actually found the lump myself," she said "It was very fast growing. It was a bit of a rollercoaster to start with.
"To start with, it was only going to be a lumpectomy and then five weeks' radiation. Within 10 days of getting results back, everything all changed."
Pathology results showed there was still more cancer, so three weeks later she had a mastectomy and the lymph nodes under her right arm removed.
Four months of chemo followed, and when that finished in December last year she had five weeks of radiation.
Mrs Holmes faces five years of medication, and is still doing physio to help he recover from the surgery, but she is now cancer-free.
"I was pretty much cancer free from having the mastectomy, the chemo and the radiation were a back-up to make sure," she said.
As an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she had to give up working while she was undergoing treatment because it was too risky. She plans to head head back to work mid-year.
And despite what she went through, she is grateful for the "fantastic support" of her husband Jason, family, friends and her daughter's school.
"I'm very thankful I could have all my treatment here in Warrnambool which is just a bonus in itself," she said.
About 150 people participated in the Mother's Day Classic event - a 3km walk or 7km run - which raised about $5000.
Organiser Emma Dart said the event was run on a smaller scale this year due to COVID-19 but they hoped to be back to full capacity next year.
Its biggest ever event attract up to 600 people, but she said they needed more volunteers to make that happen.
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