WHEN Alison Sheehan went to her GP complaining of back pain following a freak fall at home several weeks before, the last thing she expected was a cancer diagnosis.
But this is the cruel reality facing the 33-year-old mother of one, detective, and children's cancer fundraising champion.
"She had a number of tests and eventually they diagnosed her with breast cancer and, unfortunately, the legions had spread to her spine and lymph nodes," friend and colleague Donna Tutt said.
"Ali has been told when she beats cancer she may be faced with a significant disability due to the damage to her spine."
While Ms Sheehan undergoes treatment at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra hospital, her partner Adam had to resign from his job as a manager at the Byron Bay Brewery to care for 18-month-old Jack, who suffers EoE, an allergy related inflammation of the oesophagus, which results in difficulty swallowing, chest discomfort and heartburn.
A regular fundraiser for children's cancer sufferers in the region, earlier this year, Ms Sheehan helped raise money for Jacob Mercy-Ireland who has osteosarcoma.
"Ali cut all of her hair off to raise money and then donated it to "Beautiful Lengths" - a Pantene charity that makes wigs for chemo patients."
A former constable with Lismore PCYC, Ms Sheehan did a lot of work with youth from the Lismore region before she was transferred to the ranks of Byron Bay detectives two years ago.
"She was the dux of our original class 14 years ago and she was the dux of the detectives' class as well - so she had a huge career ahead of her."
To support Ms Sheehan and her fight against cancer, Ms Tutt has organised the Paddle for Ali, on October 26.
"Come and support someone local who has been a huge fundraiser for children's cancer."
Participants will paddle nine kilometres along the Brunswick River, from Heritage Park, Mullumbimby, to Banner Park, Brunswick Heads. "Any type of non-motorised watercraft can be used, from canoes, to kayaks, skis and surfboards."
An event safety briefing will be held at 9.30am, with the paddle to start at 10am.
On arrival at Banner Park, a barbecue and raffle will be held, with all proceeds going toward Ms Sheehan's fundraising campaign.
People who are unable to paddle can still donate at any Westpac branch.
The account is:
Ali Sheehan fundraising canoe paddle
BSB - 032-573
A/C - 242-724