Launceston General Hospital nurse Danielle Bywaters has always been passionate about medical research and improving the experience of her patients.
But after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of last year, her perspective changed.
“I went from being beside the bed, to being in the bed,” she explained.
“Being treated by people who I knew, some who I had taught.”
A lecturer in nursing at the University of Tasmania and a PhD candidate, Ms Bywaters is now giving back to the organisation who helped her through her cancer treatment.
The event, which this year is being held online amid COVID-19 restrictions, raises funds to support the more than nine Tasmanians who are diagnosed with cancer on a daily basis.
For Ms Bywaters, the decision to take part in the fundraiser was two-fold.
“My research is on the patient experience. So I am really interested in any event that builds a higher profile of this disease,” she said.
“I had cancer in both breasts and if my diagnosis was made 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be alive today.
“Medical research is just so important and I am really interested in the future and early detection for other women.
“This is also an opportunity to thank the doctors and recognise the nurses who cared for me.
“Because I think we are really lucky in Tasmania, to have such good care.”
More than 500 Tasmanians have already registered for the Women’s 5K, with a 20 per cent discount to the cost of registration available to anyone who signs up on August 20.
Rather than a single event in Launceston, registrations are open across the state, with runners and walkers able to participate any time from Friday, September 11 and 4pm Sunday, September 13.
Ms Bywaters said she had always supported the Cancer Council, but she never thought she would be the one impacted by the disease.
“It was a shock. I didn’t think, being a health person who has always exercised and always been really careful about diet, that I would ever get breast cancer,” she said.
“Also, as someone who is really aware of their body – yes, it was definitely a shock. But I think that’s the other lesson.
“Anyone can get breast cancer. We’d had friends who’d had cancer and one who also passed away, which was a big shock. I think education and research of course is the future and we need to be supporting it.”
Ms Bywaters has already raised more than $3000 for the Cancer Council, but she is hoping to raise more.
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