Sandra Kanellos, a mum of two kids, was just 43 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was during a routine mammogram in 2013 that Sandra discovered she had three tumors in her right breast.

The fear and uncertainty Sandra felt at that moment was overwhelming. Sadly, each day 40 Australian women go through the same trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Amazingly, Sandra believes she is one of the fortunate ones.

 “When I was having chemotherapy I would sit next to girls who were in their twenties and think about how lucky I was to have had the time to create my family and get to know my son and daughter. It hurt my heart so much at the thought they may never get that chance to have a family of their own.”

Sandra is one of those inspiring women who instantly made the decision to get on with it despite the treatment process not being at all easy for herself or her family.

“The four months I was going through chemotherapy and couldn’t do anything were really tough. It was my son’s last year of school and I couldn’t be involved in all his events. I had always been a part of the parents and friends committee and loved working with the school community so for me to say no was a really hard thing.”

Sandra and her gorgeous family.
Sandra and her gorgeous family.

For Sandra, the hardest part was no longer being able to look after her family in the way she loved to do. While recovering from her mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy Sandra learnt to rely on her family and friends to help out with the everyday chores like school runs and housework.

Because of the help she received from her local community Sandra’s family was taken care of.

“During my treatment I just had to lay down, I didn’t have the energy for anything but my cousin would drop a big plate of food around each night after chemo so the family could eat. I had parents from the kids school dropping around lasagne, soups…my freezer was full. I was so lucky to have that support.”

Despite being one of hardest times of her life, Sandra felt fortunate to have the support of family and loved ones in the comfort of her own home. For her, it was the very best case in the worst scenario.

During her treatment Sandra reflects on sitting next to women who were travelling hundreds of kilometres from their home in the country to undergo chemotherapy. Meeting these women and their families was the reason Sandra chose to help those doing it tougher than her.

It’s this desire to give back that helped Sandra raise more than $3,700 for cancer research through her own fundraising.

The money Sandra raised has directly contributed to the Under Our Roof project that has recently opened much needed accommodation for country cancer patients and their families, who need accommodation while they undergo treatment.

An inspiring, humble woman, and now a breast cancer survivor, Sandra continues to support research in the hopes of helping others now and in the future who are touched by cancer.



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