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Judy Robertson is a warrior, a survivor and a carer. Her passion for Relay For Life has bloomed in the six years she has been involved with the largest Relay For Life event outside the United States of America.
“Twenty years ago, that was probably the biggest shock because its [diagnosis] new, and you look at things, I may not be here to look at things again”
Judy is a medical scientist working with Murdoch University Veterinary School in clinical pathology. She is endlessly curious and always seeking new information. After surgery and while Judy was in radiotherapy, her supportive husband Ken was recruited to gather the latest medical journal articles that Judy had found.
“When you have information you can deal with things a lot better.”
“I continued to work. I chose the last appointment of the day, so I could have the treatment and then rest and recover at home. I had weekly reflexology, a very new thing to do, but it gave the chance to talk to someone, while felt like you were doing something while everything was going out of your control”
“You realise other people are going through a much tougher battle”
Judy says she has been very lucky with the medical professionals she has seen during her three diagnoses, she has never been afraid to hear robust news.
After five years of treatment Judy was declared cancer free and life went on, with regular checkups, though she insisted on ultrasound scans as well as regular mammograms. When a 7mm tumour was detected in 2010 she bought the ultra sonographer flowers.
This time treatment was surgery and chemotherapy. 2010 was a “fun” year she says wryly, as Ken also had a cancer diagnosis. She continued having scans and lived her life, going on overseas holidays and spending time with family.
In 2013 the pancreatic cancer diagnosis arrived, and it wasn’t a metastasis. Despite the poor prognosis Judy refused to cry and kept her positive outlook, “I won’t give in to cancer”. Chemo and radiotherapy in 2014 knocked the pancreatic cancer for six!
“I continued to exercise, kept my regular sessions at the gym and had a port inserted for my chemo so I could continue to go to the swimming pool. I was determined to keep going as much as I could”
Judy has been involved with Relay For Life Perth since 2010 when a work colleague suggested it might be good recovery for Judy’s bilateral knee replacement, and to spend some time walking around the track at 3am in the morning. Relatives had cancer and Judy started fundraising.
Her involvement has gone on to Captaining a team, and after her retirement from the workforce she volunteered to assist on the Relay For Life Perth Committee.
Judy now coordinates the Survivor and Carer’s walk around the track, the afternoon tea with the Western Australian Governor and the photo-tribute slideshow for those we have lost to cancer during the candlelight ceremony. She contributes to many other service organisations and charities.
As well as being a pivotal member of the Relay For Life Perth committee she is team captain of her team “Thousand Reasons”, a family affair with three generations of her relatives and in-laws being a part of the event. “The kids look forward to it each year, to catch up with their friends and to experience the joy and emotion of Perth Relay.”
“When life gives you one hundred reasons to cry, it also gives you one thousand reasons to smile”.