A sun-kissed surfer and a keen-eyed photographer bump into each other one morning at the beach. What happens next is pretty incredible…
The surfer, Tony, was diagnosed with cancer and given a 3% chance of survival. Embracing his zest for life, passion for helping others, and with the support of his family, he decided to be one of the 3 in every hundred to survive.
The photographer, Neil, is a local who has always appreciated the morning glow of dawn and capturing the rays of the sunrise. Every day for the last 24 years, he’s taken a photo of the sunrise (that’s over 80,000 photos!).
They struck up a conversation right there on the beach and left it at that. No names or numbers were exchanged but the next morning they ran into each other again.
As a cancer survivor, Tony knew the importance of cherishing a memory and having a talisman to hold onto. Neil had sold his sunrise prints to family and friends, but Tony wanted to bring the unique concept to every Australian.
That’s how Sunrise Daily began. Two blokes who met on the beach creating a way for people to capture their special day through the most powerful & radiant energy force of them all… the sun.
Since then, people all over Australia (and the world) have honoured pivotal dates in their lives (such as the day they became cancer-free or, for some, the day of their diagnosis) with a Sunrise Daily print. It’s something that means the world to us because that was exactly Tony’s mission when he set out on this journey, to remind us that the sun always rises – that there is always hope.
So it’s no surprise that when we met Sally, aka The Awakened Mumma, we were in awe of her incredible story and the work she continues to do to help mums thrive through their cancer journey and beyond.
Read on for Sally’s story …
The Awakened Mumma
Towards the end of 2018, as a 38-year-old mum to an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old, Sally was diagnosed with early bowel cancer. Her life was turned upside down in an instant.
Before her diagnosis, she describes her life as beautiful, carefree and predictable. She was a woman, wife, mum, daughter, friend, and colleague and then, just like that, she became a cancer patient.
She began her surgical treatment, navigated many cancer-related complications, and struggled to cope with the emotional rollercoaster of it all. But, in the end, she found a way to push her body, mind, and soul to a place of strength and determination that she didn’t think she was capable of.
While Sally was finding a way to stay strong during the illness and recovery, she was caring for two young boys, maintaining a relationship, managing chronic symptoms, changes in friendship circles, processing the “why me”, “scanxiety”, post-cancer food phobias, survivor guilt, results PTSD, end of life fears, forgiveness, body distrust, altered body image, and returning to work. Sally went through it and came out of it all a more purposeful, grateful, and compassionate person.
Lessons of a cancer survivor
If Sally’s journey with cancer and as a survivor left her with anything, it’s these important lessons:
- Modern medicine has a strong focus on physical recovery, with very limited emphasis on emotional recovery and mindset.
- Physical and mental health are often treated as two separate entities.
- A healthy mindset is the key to recovery.
- There is a misconception that once a person returns home from hospital they are ‘well again’.
- The recovery work is done at home.
- A lot of cancer resources and funding are targeted at older adults.
- There is a gap in education for younger adults regarding nutrition, fertility preservation, cancer fog, early menopause, intimacy, relationship breakdowns and grief.
- There is a place for modern and holistic medicine – neither has all of the answers alone.
Understanding these lessons and combining her skills and expertise as a nurse-come-cancer-patient, Sally now works to help mums thrive through their cancer journey and beyond.
Sally’s mission to help mums through cancer
With 20 years of experience working in private and public health care as a Registered Nurse, Sally understands the business of healthcare and the parent/patient journey to recovery.
She now dedicates her life to guiding mums through their own cancer and recovery journey, advocating for early bowel cancer detection,and raising awareness about the importance of quality survivorship care.
Read her blog where Sally shares real-life experiences across the cancer journey, hardships and learnings of navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
She has also gathered helpful links and free resources to support mums through their cancer journey. Some of the topics covered include parenting through cancer, financial resources and services, and intimacy and cancer.
And for those looking to navigate their cancer journey with more ease so that they can focus on what matters most, Sally also provides 1:1 coaching support. You can get in touch with her to enquire here.