Our CCWA team for Nina's Triathlon in Bunbury Clare (on the far right) with teammates, Claire and Faith
Competing in a triathlon as a first time participant is an achievement anyone would be proud of - but doing so just six weeks after finishing breast cancer treatment was an incredible milestone for Bunbury resident Clare Vink.
Clare said her experience highlights what’s possible for cancer patients who have the right support in place. Clare was just 25 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and she said our Bunbury Cancer Support Centre, known as Dot’s Place, was a big support in dealing with the shock of a diagnosis at such a young age and during the early stages of her treatment.
“I attended a number of support programs at Dot’s Place and the Cancer Council Support Coordinator in Bunbury, Hayley Tuck was excellent in following up with calls and linking me to other younger women who’d been through similar experiences,” said Clare.
Clare said her confidence grew as a result of our support services (such as the Life Now exercise program) so the opportunity to train for a triathlon was an added challenge.
“Training to participate in Nina’s triathlon (held in Bunbury last November) was a big deal and a big challenge because it was something I’d never done before.
“It was also a great incentive to get back into regular exercise and it really helped me to feel better about my health.”
Clare said it was particularly great to have the encouragement of Hayley and the other ladies in the team.
Hayley, who competed in the same team, said two other team members were also participating after a cancer diagnosis.
“I think our team was a great example of how some of our clients can go on to achieve bigger and better things once they regain confidence and strength through our support programs,” said Hayley.
“We ended up with 20 competitors in our team including 12 women competing in their first ever triathlon which was an impressive result.
“It really was a wonderful event promoting all the right lifestyle choices, aimed at participation rather than competition, and I think we all felt proud of our achievements.”
Clare, who has now returned to work said she’s focusing on how she can use this experience to support and encourage other young women who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
“My experience is a testament to the value of cancer support programs so I’d encourage anyone going through a cancer experience to enquire about Cancer Council WA support programs,” Clare said.
For further information about our Life Now exercise programs and other support services give our Cancer Nurses a call on 13 11 20.