A young Sunshine Coast woman facing a daunting cancer journey is sharing her story as part of Bloomhill Cancer Care’s annual fundraising campaign.
Brittney Anning is an equine sports massage therapist, who at age 24 was diagnosed with melanoma.
“Growing up on the water, I was always outside, on jet skis and boats or out riding my horse,” she says. “When I was 24, I noticed this black-looking mole on my collar bone. It made me realise this black thing really needed to be checked out. It was a melanoma.”
Ms Anning had the melanoma removed and was in the clear until just after her 30th birthday after dismissing consistent pain in her armpit. “I was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in my lymph nodes, which had started as a melanoma on the skin.
“It quickly progressed to stage four within eight weeks.
“I had no idea melanoma could come back to haunt me, except on top of the skin.
“If I had known it could have spread to the lymph nodes I would have immediately got the pain in my armpit checked out.”
Unable to work, Ms Anning currently has 14 tumours in her bones, causing significant pain and threatening her mobility if the cancer latches onto her spine.
“I’m continuing with treatment, but the hope I did have for surviving is dwindling a little since immunotherapy didn’t work the way we’d hoped.
“I’m now on targeted therapy, which is more about prolonging my quality of life rather than curing the cancer.”
Ms Anning has been receiving support from Bloomhill and says art therapy classes, massages and mindfulness sessions are helping to ground her.
“Art therapy for me is an escape. I love how you can express yourself,” she says. “It’s not about the finished product, it’s how you feel while doing it.
“It takes your mind off appointments and medications and all that sort of stuff.”
Despite her prognosis, Ms Anning remains hopeful and is continuing to live her life with no regrets.
This June the Sunshine Coast community can help celebrate the locals who are touched by cancer through the annual Be There for Bloomhill campaign.
The annual campaign is the biggest for Bloomhill Cancer Care in its effort to provide personalised support cancer patients and their families across the region.
To donate to Bloomhill, visit www.bloomhill.com.au.