Charmaine's tale from runner to the face of Relay
UPON finding out she narrowly avoided a serious diagnosis for ovarian cancer in 2007, Charmaine Bailey remembers feeling "numb.”
Ten years on, and Ms Bailey is being crowned as the face for Hervey Bay's 2017 Relay for Life, as the group prepares to launch the Cancer Council Queensland event at their Purple and Gold Ball tonight.
For Ms Bailey, who has been heavily involved with the organisation most of her life, the announcement is enough to bring her "a swell of pride.”
"It's something I hold quite close to my heart. To stand up and represent Relay for Life is a huge honour for me,” she said.
"I was humbled at first, and reluctant to take it on...because relay is such a big thing for me.
"But it's a great celebration of being ten years clear, and ten years of being involved in Relay.”
Back in 2007, she recalls going through denial when her GP discovered an ovarian cyst during a checkup.
Consultation with more medical practitioners led to Ms Bailey's left ovary fallopian tube being removed as a precaution- along with a cancerous cyst.
By May 17, 2007, she was declared in remission.
Ms Bailey said it was a chance early diagnosis that was extremely lucky, especially considering the current fatality rate for ovarian cancer.
"I spent a lot of time denying it was real; only after four years I had an emotional crash because I didn't deal with it at the time. It was a delayed psychological reaction,” she said.
"I feel like I'm incredibly lucky.”
Being the face of this year's Relay, she will represent the crowd when the Relay starts in October.
Saturday night's ball is an event to launch the fundraising period for the event, which will start the ball rolling on patron announcements, the face of relay and the event schedule.
Ms Bailey was confident the team would reach their fundraising goal, which is in the thousands.
"Every year I've been here it's grown and grown; the first one raised $40,000. We're now looking at double that for this year, but seeing how much others have raised we're quietly confident we can surpass that,” she said.
Hervey Bay Relay for Life chair Kay Nixon said the group was "honoured” to have Charmaine as the face of Relay for Life this year.
"Charmaine has been a relayer for 10 years. A single mum with three girls, she's everything relay is about; community spirit, fighting and beating cancer, and being an awesome person,” she said.
"Very lucky to have her as the face for Relay. She's just an amazing lady.”