CANSA Relay For Life

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Pink lipstick became a symbol of strength and power among the Marshall women

Tracy MarshallWhen Global Hero of Hope,Tracy Marshall’s mother, Lyn, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 she (in Tracy’s words): “Coped like a star. You would never tell she was ill. She continued to be there for everyone and was always perking everyone up.” Tracy added, “And she would never go to her chemo without her pink lipstick and make-up on.”

After Lyn passed on, Tracy’s sister, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29. “My father and I supported my sister as best we could and today she is a cancer survivor for 18 years. Just like my mum, when my sister went for chemo she also continued to wear her pink lipstick.”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer herself, more than a year ago, Tracy, like her mother and sister, never failed to wear her pink lipstick to chemo. And just like that, the pink lipstick became a symbol of strength and power among the Marshall women, and the sign of a cancer warrior unwilling to give up the fight even when they were feeling sick or down.

This August, Tracy was acknowledged by the Newcastle community as a ‘Phenomenal Woman’. Her fight against cancer extended far beyond the symbolism of the pink lipstick. Lyn and Karen’s experience motivated Tracy to join the CANSA Relay For Life committee in Newcastle in 2009 as part of the Survivors Sub-Committee where she could support other cancer patients and give them the courage to continue the fight.

“CANSA Relay For Life became important to me because it shows that there is hope right through the darkness and that there is always someone to hold your hand and help you through,” explains Tracy. “I have experienced cancer now in three different ways. I have lost somebody to cancer, I have seen cancer being beaten, and now I, myself, am fighting cancer. I can relate to others in their cancer journey.”

Tracy now uses her cancer experienced to relate to and help others. Her teenage daughter, Tegan, has also joined CANSA Newcastle’s volunteer group in order to create awareness about cancer among her peers at school.

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