Love helps fight breast cancer
Earlier this year, Nicola Keller was caring for residents at Bupa Aged Care Eastwood. Now, just seven months later, she's fighting a battle against breast cancer so she can return to the people she loves.
“I love my job and would hate to bring up an old cliché but working at Bupa Eastwood is not just a job, the staff and residents are like my second family,” Ms Keller said.
“I have worked at Eastwood for nearly 6 years and as I’m a nurse, I regularly check my body for anything irregular but late last year, I found a lump, had a mammogram and was kept in the hospital for a double mastectomy.”
In a brave leap of faith, the enrolled nurse announced her breast cancer diagnosis to colleagues who leaped at the opportunity to support her in every way they could.
“I have been through six rounds of chemotherapy and I am extremely thankful to the staff and residents for being there when I needed them most,” she said.
Three of the residents sent flowers to the hospital when I got sick and it made all the difference in the world to me and my two daughters.
Despite the odds, Ms Keller is driven to beat the cancer; a disease which will occur in one out of 8 women by age 85 and accounts for approximately 28.4 percent of all new cancers in Australian women.
“I believe I’m going to make a full recovery but the doctors are making sure. It is my personal goal to be back at work by the 30th of September.”
With candour and positivity, friend and colleague Gabrielle O'Kelly said that they held a ‘shave off’ fundraiser at the home which assisted in collectively raising $2000 to be donated to Bairnsdale Regional Health Service Oncology Unit. This money has been transferred into gift vouchers for local cancer patients.
“Nicky and I have been working together since 2012. She has become like a second mum to me and treats me like her daughter. Everyone in the home has given all they can to help her get back on her feet,” Ms O’Kelly said.
“I got chatting to her when she was diagnosed with cancer and made a promise that both my eight year old son Lochie and I would shave our heads in solidarity.”
“I have been to every scan, appointment, chemo session and even her biopsy. I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” she said.