Sponsored How this young mother found light in a less-than-favourable diagnosis

How this young mother found light in a less-than-favourable diagnosis

Marketta MacDonald with her family. Photo: Mother's Day Classic
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In January 2018, 36-year-old Marketta MacDonald had just moved to Geelong, gateway city to Victoria’s south-west region.

She was at the beginning of a new chapter of her life and, with her two young children, looking forward to connecting with her local community.

Her daughter was about to start primary school and she had just stopped breastfeeding her son when she found a lump in her breast.

Marketta has a long history of cancer within her family – her father, her aunties, her cousins and her grandparents have all been affected by different cancers, so she was always proactive with checking for any symptoms.

Marketta was diagnosed with triple positive, node-positive breast cancer with two tumours and high-grade DCIS lymph node involvement.

“At the start you are vulnerable and then once you come out of it, you realise that everybody has some story. It’s about how you deal with it that makes the real difference,” Marketta said.

Fighting hard to retain some semblance of a normal routine for her kids, Marketta’s medical team recommended she follow neoadjuvant therapy. It means that she was administered a range of therapeutic drug treatments before they made the decision to engage in main surgical treatment.

These drugs attempt to shrink the tumours and provide more surgical options.

Marketta’s regime in 2018 consisted of six months of chemotherapy treatments, a double mastectomy including removal of her left lymph nodes, five weeks of radiation plus a range of drug treatments involving hormonal blocking injections.

Herceptin is one part of Marketta’s prescribed adjuvant treatment and is a drug most effective in early stage, aggressive and lymph-node positive breast cancer.

She has four more Herceptin infusions to complete and then Marketta looks forward to a clean health record from the cancer.

Marketta hopes that there will be no recurrence in the future.

“I feel like I have been through one thing after another, but I’m aware that it could have been so much worse. I think about the people still battling the disease every day.”

Marketta is incredibly grateful for her second chance and for the drugs that she now has access to – drugs that weren’t available when her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her sister has since had the opportunity to test her risk factor and undergo a double mastectomy as a preventive measure. This is all thanks to the result of vital breast cancer research.

Marketta MacDonald. Photo: Mother’s Day Classic

“I want to give back any way that I can. People don’t realise how much charities like the Mother’s Day Classic support the research and the huge difference they make. Every cent towards breast cancer research really helps. My sister and I are both living proof of that,” Marketta said.

Marketta continues to inspire others not only by fundraising for research through charities such as the Mother’s Day Classic, but also through her music. She started writing music and performing songs at weddings and it has helped her deal with the long-term grief she felt losing her father at age nine.

Many women have also been inspired by Marketta’s music and in particular, her most recent song that reflects on her personal journey through breast cancer.

“Music makes me laugh, cry, feel the emotion and share the really memorable moments with the people who are important in my life,”  Marketta said.

“I have met some amazing people on my journey and my story is just one of so many.”

She finds it’s a great way to connect with others and help people find the inspiration in their own story. Her positive attitude is evidence of her strong belief that you can find much personal strength in adversity and it’s possible to find light in less-than-favourable diagnoses.

“I think that everything is meant for a reason and life is not so bad. At the start after the initial diagnosis and that first treatment, you are very vulnerable, but then you start to realise everybody has a story. It’s about how you deal with it that makes the real difference.”

Marketta has learnt first-hand the importance of fundraising events after receiving the breakthrough treatment that saved her life.

“I think of myself as lucky to receive the help and support of so many. I’m particularly indebted to the amazing specialists and nurses that work tirelessly to help vulnerable, scared people like me every day.”

Marketta wants people to help her raise funds and save lives by giving whatever they can and participating in this weekend’s walk and run.

She will be walking in the Geelong event on Sunday and making Mother’s Day mean more.

“The more people that know about Mother’s Day Classic Foundation, the greater their impact, so please also spread the word and donate to my page,” Marketta says.

By walking, running, donating or fundraising, you really can help us make a difference to the lives of those with breast cancer and for future generations.

The New Daily is a media partner of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, which takes place in 100 locations across Australia on Sunday, May 12, raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help fund life-saving breast cancer research projects. Registrations are open here.