Young cancer mum gets behind CanTeen

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CanTeen Northland currently has 60 members hailing from Kaitaia to Wellsford. Photo / File / Warren Buckland
CanTeen Northland currently has 60 members hailing from Kaitaia to Wellsford. Photo / File / Warren Buckland

Today Sarah Taylor, 21, will be selling bandanas for a support organisation for young cancer patients while reflecting on her own battle with breast cancer.

Sarah is a member of the Northland branch of CanTeen, which is launching its annual appeal this weekend.

When she was 19, Sarah discovered a lump in her breast - and while undergoing tests, she discovered she was pregnant.

"Before they did a scan of the lump they asked me if I could be pregnant. I wasn't sure so they did the test anyway, and I found out I actually was," she said.

The lump in her breast was monitored by specialists in Auckland without MRI scans as she could not have such scans while she was pregnant.

While the experience had been scary, she had lots of support from her family, her partner and his family.

After her son Riley was born, she was given a month to spend with him before the doctors began treating the cancer with chemotherapy.

"I am really glad I got that month to spend with him," Sarah said.

Her partner had gone along to her chemotherapy sessions with her. "Chemo was tough," she said.

Family members had rallied to care for Riley while Sarah and her partner attended appointments in hospital.

"I would go to get chemo, be sick for three days," she said.

Sarah lost her hair while having her treatment, and her two sisters decided to show their support and shave their heads.

"We kind of all looked different together," she said.

Eighteen months on and Sarah is in remission and her son is a healthy 1-year-old.

She said it was a shame that she only joined CanTeen towards the end of her treatment.

"I didn't realise it was for older people, too."

She loved the support from the organisation and said "knowing that other people are there for you", was the greatest thing CanTeen offered cancer patients.

She said she had regular coffee dates with another young mum in remission whom she met through CanTeen.

Sarah will be one of the many CanTeen members selling bandanas in Whangarei today as part of their fundraising week Bandanna Challenge 2012.

A range of fundraising activities, such as a spin bike race and an auction, will be held at the Whangarei Town Basin on Saturday September 22 at an event called the Bike Bash.

CanTeen Northland currently has 60 members hailing from Kaitaia to Wellsford.

All funds raised from the Bike Bash will stay with the Northland branch of CanTeen.

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