Claire with her husband Tamkey and son Jet
Claire Louise Spencer, a 43-year-old social media manager and mother-of-one, from Newlyn North, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019.
Claire’s journey to her cancer diagnosis was a challenge.
“I had two or three years of poor health. I had spoken to a number of GPs and I really wasn’t getting anywhere,” said Claire.
“My doctor thought I had endometrial cancer, but they found out later that I had cervical cancer after I had exploratory keyhole surgery. My recovery really should have only been 12 weeks in total, but it ended up being closer to six months because I got infections due to the radical hysterectomy. I was also diagnosed with anxiety and depression, osteoarthritis, and I already had an immune disorder.”
Claire during treatment with her son Jet
Claire said Cancer Council helped her immensely during her early stages of diagnosis when she joined Cancer Council’s online community.
“When I had the exploratory surgery, I talked to some people about cervical cancer but they weren’t particularly helpful conversations. I got onto Cancer Council Victoria’s website initially just to find out what endometrial and cervical cancer was,” said Claire.
“I also joined their online forum and wrote about my experiences about being told that you were unwell, but not really understanding how unwell, and what the future looks like. Something about that post triggered a lot of conversation. It was one of the biggest threads Cancer Council had in 2020. It was so incredibly important in my ability to cope because I didn’t know anyone who was right in the thick of it.
“I used those online tools for the first six or so months, which helped me immensely. There are still people connecting through that thread now.”
Now, Claire is taking part in this year’s Dry July to support other Victorians affected by cancer.
By giving up alcohol for a whole month during July and raising as much-funds as possible, people can help Cancer Council to continue its life-saving cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support programs.
Claire said it was a no-brainer to raise as much-funds as possible for the cancer organisation.
“There really isn’t anyone out there who hasn’t been touched by cancer. It’s nice to know that the funds raised will be going to an organisation that has made such a personal impact on me. Cancer Council is extremely beneficial for all Victorians affected by cancer,” said Claire.
“I’m going to keep raising funds for Cancer Council again, and again, and again.”
Since 2008, a quarter of a million Australians have rallied around Dry July, raising over $60 million.