IMPACT STORIES: Kerrie O’Sullivan

My name is Kerrie O’Sullivan and I am a Breast Cancer Survivor. Our journey began in October 2016. I say ‘our journey’ as my husband said our children and himself are in it together with me. It was Sunday 16th October when I when I experienced a sharp pain in my left breast. I felt my breast and there was a big lump–I knew I had to organise tests straight away.

The diagnosis

Kerri hugging her daughter at an event.
Kerri pictured with her daughter, Miah at the Pirates Ladies Day, 2019

On November 2nd it was confirmed that I had triple negative breast cancer. A few weeks later I found out that I also carried the BRAC 1 gene. BRAC 1 gene meant that I had 70% chance of getting breast cancer in my lifetime and 50% chance of it coming back if I didn’t have my breasts removed.

I was so overwhelmed and scared with the diagnosis. It was a whirlwind of emotions of dealing with the outcome and knowing that I was going to start 6 months of chemotherapy on the 22nd of November. The next step was a double mastectomy, then expanders.

Radiation followed not long afterwards for 5 days over 5 weeks. I then decided to have my ovaries and fallopian tubes out in December 2017 as a preventative surgery as there is a 40% (high risk) chance of getting ovarian cancer due to BRAC 1. In June 2018 I had my expanders taken out and my implants put in. 

How the journey has impacted me

‘Our journey’ certainly was a reminder that life can change in a second. With my life changing experience I felt I needed to promote breast cancer awareness, and I wanted to be there for a support for other ladies going through the same thing, I was eager to fundraise for Cancer Council and Serendipity. The money raised went back locally to support the community.

Soon after Kerri began chemo in 2016, Kerri’s friends volunteered to support her by also shaving their heads.

I was extremely blessed as I had an amazing support network of family and friends who made me realise how lucky I was. I am so grateful to all the medical staff in Tamworth and their expertise and wealth of knowledge. There are many incredible supportive people including Tradies Support The Ladies.

Support networks are so important

A woman and a man standing together.
Kerri and Gary at the Pirates Ladies Day, 2019

I would like to thank and express my appreciation for Tradies Support the Ladies. This supportive group in Tamworth has really promoted breast cancer awareness and encouraged ladies to check their breasts regularly.

Gary and Mat have devoted so much time in encouraging businesses to purchase and wear shirts displaying the breast cancer symbol every Friday to spread the message.

He kindly gave up time and support when myself and others had a fundraiser for the local breast cancer facilities at The Pirates Ladies Day.

Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive, when you are positive good things happen. I kept a positive mind which certainly helped me get through my experience. Be grateful for what we have.

It has been a privilege to be asked to share this shortened version of ‘our journey’. Please fell free to contact me via messenger if you have any questions.

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