Ann Gaites (71) has one word to describe her diagnosis of cervical cancer eighteen years ago, “awful”. Originally from New Zealand, Ann helped to run a successful funeral business and enjoyed participating in musical theatre in Tamworth, NSW before her diagnosis, treatment and subsequent recovery changed her life forever. “I think a lot of people think when you get the all clear from cancer, that your suffering stops, which is completely untrue. You still absolutely need support.”
Ann continues to suffer from anxiety and the effects of radiation from treatment. Unable to be physically mobile, Ann uses social media to keep in contact with her friends and family. Having been introduced to CancerAid recently, Ann is passionate about the app’s ability to combat isolation for cancer patients.
“Nobody who has gone through cancer should ever feel alone,” Ann says. “An amazing part of CancerAid is being able to have a journal to record your symptoms and the ability to keep in touch with your doctor during treatment. Beyond that immediate contact, there is also the option to research all of the various treatment options and it would really have helped me during my diagnosis. The fact is, there was no cancer support like CancerAid back then.
Ann strongly believes in the power of sharing her story to help others suffering from cervical cancer. She understands that her experiences can help others currently going through their treatment and provide solace. CancerAid similarly understands the power of sharing experiences through its community news feed that includes a selection of stories from a variety of patients going through cancer.
“There can be a lot of different feelings associated with cancer,” Ann explains. “I still get anxious, and it is nice to have a platform like CancerAid that allows you to get the right information and share stories. You should never feel alone at any stage of the journey. I strongly believe it gets better, we just have to make sure that there is always support available.”