By Abbey Cannan
Just six years after losing her mum to breast cancer at the age of 14, Sunshine Beach resident Halie Adams was the youngest women in Australia to be diagnosed with the disease herself.
After a grueling two-year fight, where she underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Halie was given the all clear and miraculously beat the deadly disease.
Since enduring more than most at such a young age, Halie has spent her life living courageously and has continued to appreciate how special each and every day is.
As a now 40-year-old mother of two young boys, Halie was set to celebrate being in remission for 20 years as a survivor of breast cancer.
That was, until her world came crashing down around her on Thursday 23 May when she was diagnosed with Stage Four, primarily ovarian, chest, liver and heart cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer affecting women in Australia. In 2015, 1365 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in Australian women. The risk of being diagnosed before the age of 85 is one in 85. In 2016, there were 938 deaths caused by ovarian cancer in Australia.
Halie said that the diagnosis came as a massive shock after being in remission for 20 years.
“Basically, I’m up for the fight of my life,” Halie said.
“I’m a very positive person and I believe I have the strength in me to do this again as I am a fighter.
“I’m going to fight hard for my children and my partner.”
Halie said she initially thought that she might be pregnant again after feeling what she thought were symptoms, but once she had her menstrual cycle, she decided to visit the doctor.
There is currently no screening for ovarian cancer available in Australia and the symptoms are quite broad including; abdominal bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, frequent or urgent urination, back, abdominal or pelvic pain, constipation or diarrhoea, menstrual irregularities, fatigue, indigestion, or unexplained weight loss or weight gain. These symptoms can be caused by other conditions but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local doctor.
“After having multiple scans, I got given the terrible news by my doctor,” Halie said.
“I’ve got my two little boys and my partner to fight for now.”
Halie has lived at Sunshine Beach with her family for six years now and has always loved to keep active; spending her days playing tennis with friends and jogging 10 kilometres whilst pushing a pram with her two boys inside.
This is something she is very grateful for, as after undergoing chemotherapy at the age of 20, Halie was told by doctors that it was unlikely she would be able to have children.
Halie always wanted to have her own kids, and during her chemotherapy she had part of her ovary removed and frozen.
“It’s a miracle that I had my two boys naturally and I feel blessed,” she said.
“In a way, it really is a miracle that I had two boys, as if I had a baby girl, she would have carried the same the BRACA 1 gene, which is the breast cancer gene and has come from my genetic make-up, both my mother passed at 37, and my aunt at 35-years-of-age from the disease.
“My favourite thing about being a mum is getting to love and nurture my two children.”
Halie has spent the past 15 years working in the disability field and just recently finished her nursing studies in aged care.
“I chose to work in this field because I just love helping and caring for others,” she said.
Halie said she has been receiving amazing support from her family and the local community during this tough time.
“My ‘besties’ have come up from Melbourne and my son’s school has been great,” she said.
“I’m just now preparing for my new journey, with treatment beginning on Monday.”
With Halie’s treatment starting at the Kawana Hospital on 8 July, she is unable to work and financially her family (Mark, Lachie and Cody) need help.
Halie’s friends have started a GoFundMe fundraiser for anyone that wishes to donate to give the family a helping hand.
Halie’s friend Linda Harvey said that everyone who knows Halie loves her for her sense of humour, her positive attitude and as a great mum to her two beautiful young boys.
“As a tight-knit community in Sunshine Beach we are all devastated that Halie is facing another battle with cancer a such a young age,” Linda said.
“We all want her to get well so she and Mark can continue bringing up their boys together. Mark and Halie are like any young couple, they don’t have a lot of money and are living week to week, so any financial help for Halie’s medical expenses will be greatly appreciated by not only Halie and Mark, but everyone who knows, loves and supports her.”
Halie said that she really appreciates that people are donating as it will make a huge difference, although she just really wants to spread awareness.
“I was about to do some work for breast cancer awareness, as it was my 20-years of remission, but that has all changed now,” Halie said.
“Women at any age, particularly from 20 to 40 years of age should get checked out.
“Your body is a temple, so look after it.”
Halie said a quote that resonates with her during this time is, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
To donate to Halie and her family during this tough time, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/haylie-needs-help?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet