Former Grafton music teacher shares cancer battle
MUSIC teacher Melissa Philp, formerly of Grafton will share the experience of her cancer battle to raise funds for cancer services in her new home.
Mrs Philp said it was taking things one-day-at-a-time that helped her get through treatment and move on with life after an aggressive breast cancer diagnosis.
Mrs Philp will speak at the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation's Mother's Day High Tea on May 12, to help raise funds for BreastScreen Queensland's Toowoomba service.
Mrs Philp was diagnosed with the cancer in March 2011, originally told by doctors the lump she discovered in her breast was unlikely to be cancer.
But the five centimetre growth was an aggressive form of breast cancer and a week later Mrs Philp had a lumpectomy. At the time she was a busy mum of two children and four foster children.
"When I was first diagnosed, a friend who had been through breast cancer five years before gave me the best advice," Mrs Philp said.
"She said you don't look too far ahead, you just look at one day at a time and you focus on what's going to happen tomorrow and you don't think about all the scary stuff that's ahead."
After surgery to remove the tumour, Mrs Philp had six cycles of chemotherapy and six-weeks of daily radiation treatment. In November 2011 she was given the all clear.
"After my cancer I worked on my fitness and lost 20kg and moved to Toowoomba to start afresh," she said.
After the move to Toowoomba, Mrs Philp continued her 30-year music teaching career in various schools and built her own private studio.
She got married and is enjoying life with her two children and grandchild, who recently started school.
"I look on my cancer as a wake-up call that I had to change my life in so many ways, and of course it was a terrible thing to go through, but I try to look back on the day of my diagnosis as the day my life improved for the better," she said.
Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy said the foundation was encouraging women of all ages to get behind the high tea and help raise funds for a service that directly benefits women in the region.
"BreastScreen Queensland's Toowoomba service screened over 19,000 women in our region in 2016-2017 and of these women 125 were diagnosed with breast cancer," Mrs Kennedy said.
"It is so important that we continue to support this vital service to ensure that women in our region have access to the best chance of detecting breast cancer early.
"In 2017, the BreastScreen Queensland Toowoomba Service became the only BreastScreen service in Queensland to have 3D Mammography Software, and this was only made possible by generous community support."
The high tea will be held on Saturday, May 12 at Gips Restaurant from 9.30am to noon. Tickets cost $45, go to events.toowoombahospitalfoundation.org.au/event/high-tea.