Tracey is an incredibly supportive, enthusiastic person, a talented artist, a wonderful friend, and a woman fighting metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. She is one of 48 diagnosed daily.
By Chelsea Clarkson, 2018 Executive Parliamentary Officer
This Sunday, the 4th of March, is the RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run. It’s something genuinely worth getting involved in, given that breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Australian women.
Roughly 48 people will be diagnosed a day. Tracey was diagnosed in 2013.
Tracey is my friend Phoebe’s mother – Phoebe and I met in preschool. We were best friends instantly, as is standard for friendships between six-year-olds. There were countless sleepovers, afternoons spent swimming in over-chlorinated pools, hours spent reading Harry Potter in the linen cupboard, sneaking after-school snacks and mud pie making (there’s an important distinction between the two). Phoebe was like the sister I never had, and Tracey was the cool, other mum I could go to when my own was getting on my case about not cleaning my room, or learning my times tables.
Phoebe and I fell out of contact when I moved schools; it wasn’t until years later that my Mum and Tracey reconnected when they ran into each other at our local supermarket. Now, it’s like nothing has changed – a sort of friendship renaissance.
Tracey is an incredibly supportive, enthusiastic person, a talented artist, a wonderful friend, and a woman fighting metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. Stage IV cancer is not curable – but it’s treatable. The drugs required to treat metastatic breast cancer – Ribociclib and Palbociclib – improve the quality of life and delay cancer development, but they’re also prohibitively expensive.
Drugs that are so expensive make a comfortable life inaccessible for women with this progressed form of breast cancer. The lengths that some women have gone to in order to access these drugs is ineffable – spending over $100,000 from superannuation accounts, mortgaging their houses, and travelling overseas to where certain drugs are legal (such as the US).
The Breast Cancer Network Australia has been campaigning to get further cancer drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which subsidizes the cost of medications. It has worked before – in 2001 the BCNA successfully campaigned to get Herceptin on the PBS; and in 2007 the Tykerb campaign was also a success.
Come Sunday, I’m walking in the RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run because to not do so is to choose inaction. It’s important to me, and to the friends and families of loved ones with breast cancer, that fundraising and public awareness continues to grow. I urge you to consider walking, and if you can’t, to donate here, no matter how small the contribution.
Moreover, contacting your Federal Member of Parliament when you want to see change works. Join the campaign to get these lifesaving drugs on the PBS, and to enable a life freer of financial burden for the 48 brave women diagnosed daily.