Mum shares message after disease takes her beautiful girl
LIKE an impending shadow of doom, cancer has followed Joy Burke for 40 years.
The Rockhampton local was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2000, her uncle also passed away from the disease and her mother and aunty suffered from it.
Tragically, the cancer struck the hardest when Joy's daughter Angela Grice was taken at just 41 years old in January.
With a long time of battling the hereditary disease, Joy said no family should experience the utter devastation that she endured. She is determined to ensure more families are spared.
As one of the faces of cancer, Joy will take up a baton and walk with pride and purpose at the Cancer Council's Rockhampton Relay For Life.
She said early detection is absolute vital in the battle against the sickness.
"Your diagnosis is your power point. Cancer is in there and it has the control," she said.
"But once you get that diagnosis you can start to control it. You can go get your treatment, get the meditation, relaxation and positivity going.
"At the end of 1998 I had symptoms but the doctors didn't pick up anything. So I went on a trip around Australia. And in Perth they told me to go home because it was there."
Once Angela was diagnosed, Joy stepped in. She urges sufferers to seek comfort in loved ones.
"If you don't have the power, the cancer takes control over you. You should include your family and friends," she said.
"I always held her hand when she had treatment. It is so powerful to feel the strength and squeeze of someone else's hand.
"Others can understand what is happening and you feed off them."
She will join the Face of Relay Lyndel Onions and step out of her usually reserved cloak, to not only tell her heartache but help others.
"I want to hear other people's stories and give them a hug," she said.
"My team will walk and cut the ribbons and I have a few stories to tell about mum and Ange.
"This is a cause close to my heart because the hurt you feel when you lose someone to cancer is unbearable and I don't want others to go through what we have.
"By taking part in Relay we can raise funds for more research, better treatments and hopefully a cure."
Relay For Life is an 18 hour event involving teams of up to 15 people keeping a baton moving in a relay-style walk or run overnight, in support of all Queenslanders, all cancers.
To register a team, or find out more phone 1300 65 65 85.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or www.cancerqld.org.au.