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Personal Stories



                                               BUTTERFLY WINGS


I was given a gift to nurture a butterfly in it’s cocoon from birth & help it through its growing journey. Let me tell you this was a beautiful experience. I followed the instructions to ensure the butterfly would survive whilst in my care. I gave it water and took it everywhere. I was home when the cocoon had movement and was ready to hatch. I picked up the woven basket and placed it on the grass outside.. still in it’s woven case I let the cocoon out and find its wings on my front lawn. It didn’t take long to have a flutter and circle around and then it was off to discover the world. It was a beautiful orange colour. This happened around 10am. I said goodbye to my butterfly whom I had nurtured & believed that I had a angle looking after me. This butterfly was a sign of growth and positive energy. I thought I would never see that butterfly again. Later that very afternoon my two girls came home from school and as  I came out the front to greet them the butterfly came back to my surprise. It hovered over both their heads a few times and I by then I had tears in my eyes as I could not believe what I saw. I believed my family was going to be alright with brighter days ahead. This experience has so much truth & heartfelt meaning  to me and my girls, as they have been on this journey with me the entire way.


My name is Andrea Wellings and I am a single mother of two teenage girls.  I was diagnosed with bc on 23rd march 2017.

My journey took basically 3 years from start to finish.

I learnt about the breast cancer support group through their flyers which were in my workplace and also through a friend who was currently going through BC. I went along to their support group and was immediately welcomed and  introduced to everyone and they explained what they did to help. They took down my details and supported my journey 100% as follows.




My life was based on a calendar as per my oncologist. I followed my journey as per instruction. I underwent. 

. Lumpectomy

. Mastectomy

. 6mths of chemotherapy

. 5 weeks of radiation

. Reconstruction

I couldn’t have done this without the support from Bc group.They helped me with the following..


Acalasta infusion every 6months for 3yrs( cost of script)

Knitted breast

Seatbelt cushion

Cleaner for my home

Grocery finance

physiotherapy  for lymphedema

 A driver - every day for radiation for  5 weeks. Various appointments scans, specialist & hospital.

Advice and  support feeling not alone and meeting other women who experienced BC

I am now a healthy woman who got through this and would encourage any woman of any age to use the bc support group. Please help to continue to support this amazing group by donation or your time to help this well needed service.



Breast Cancer, those two little words which strike fear and anxiety into one's heart, and words which I thought I would never hear directed at me. But I did, and I have to say, with that came all the uncertainties for my future life. In February 2011 I moved from Adelaide to join my husband who had gainful employment with a company associated with the RAAF at Williamtown, NSW. It was an exciting time for us both and we were looking forward to living in this little bit of paradise in the Port Stephens region.


On June 2, 2011, we moved into our new home in Soldiers Point, and we were filled with plans for our future in such an idyllic setting. I felt fit and well and ready for a new start, but one morning I discovered some soreness in my left breast, not a lump I hasten to add, just discomfort along the base of my left breast. It lingered, then went away, so my thoughts were, 'not to worry.' A few days later, the same thing happened and I mentioned it this time to my husband. His response was, 'you must get this checked immediately.'


The following day I saw my GP, who was also unsure at that time, as there was no definitive 'lump' to be felt. However, I was sent off for a mammogram followed by an ultrasound, then biopsies and I immediately realised, with sinking heart, that I wasn't in a good place. The diagnosis was Stage III Breast Cancer with 15 lymph nodes compromised. My world fell apart. What on earth were we going to do, all my family back in Adelaide and Kevin just starting a new job. With absolutely no history of cancer in my family, I couldn't believe this was happening. After a myriad of tests and appointments with my breast surgeon at Gateshead in Newcastle, on August 18, 2011 I underwent a left breast mastectomy followed by 6 months of chemotherapy and 5 weeks radiotherapy. My nightmare had begun.


It was tough, I had the worst sickness and side effects from the cocktail of drugs necessary to kill this beast, but I also had the most wonderful support of a loving husband, family and friends (from afar, as they were all in Adelaide). However, as fate would have it, through the Lake Macquarie Private Hospital Oncology Unit, I had discovered the best support group of all time, the Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group (TBCSG).


This group of ladies who ran this not-for-profit organisation were absolute angels sent. Drivers to take me to all appointments in Newcastle (Kev was relieved from this duty) and beyond, people to clean my house and cook if required, as well as maintenance for gardens and many other services, all done on a volunteer basis and free to all breast cancer patients within the region.


Through the TBCSG I've made many friends which has helped me in supporting my community and given me an insight into how valuable such an organisation is to so many people. I've been able to give back a little by being involved in various fund raising functions conducted by the TBCSG, notwithstanding our Annual Ball held each year in August to raise funds in maintaining such a unique and wonderful service for all breast cancer patients in need.


In closing, I would like to add that I'm now a breast cancer survivor being 5 years post all treatment. It was a very unexpected journey, but I feel blessed to have received such incredible support from the Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group and to have made some great friends along the way.


Sue Sullivan-Gould