Celebrity cook overcomes cancer challenge
By Patrizia Reimer
SHE may be a published author, TV presenter and radio personality, but Belinda Jeffery is not too big to get in the kitchen for a good cause.
The cancer survivor and food inventor says she is a bit of a 'Pollyanna' and that her positive attitude has helped her deal with two breast cancer scares and subsequent treatments.
Belinda also knows the importance of community. As patron of the NSW Cancer Council she has been involved with Australia's Biggest Morning Tea for a few years already.
She says the get-togethers are great boosters for those affected by cancer.
Belinda was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. She and her husband Clive moved to Mullumbimby shortly after her treatment finished, saying that while they had planned this change, the cancer sped everything along.
The author of the award-winning book, Belinda Jeffery's Tried & True Recipes, and the recently-released Mix & Bake, looked perfectly at ease in the Federal Hall kitchen whipping out scones for the growing number of locals arriving to help raise money for cancer research yesterday.
"We have a quieter life here, and a life that's more connected to the community," Belinda said.
"I still work long hours now, but the pressures are different. The busy-ness comes from being more involved in events like these.
"I don't think you ever get in a comfort zone once you've had cancer, there's always that anxiety around it.
"It's very frightening. I don't think the fear goes away, but human beings are remarkably resilient. Everybody deals with it in their own ways. I find a lot of people turn to some kind of spiritual help or guidance, whether it be religious or otherwise, whatever helps.
"I'm a meditator and all those things, so I do all that. Most of the time you don't think about it and you have to be as positive as possible."
Belinda said the support she had received from husband Clive, friends and her oncologist made it easier for her to cope with the rollercoaster the cancer diagnosis turned her life into.
"The thing that always concerns me, having been through radiotherapy, is the distance people have to travel," she said.
"It can be very tiring, so the thought that people have to travel to Brisbane or the Gold Coast worries me. I'd like to see the radiotherapy unit start in Lismore sooner rather than later."