In the name of the mother
Each year the day to day pain we feel when we lose someone close to us fades. It’s still there but as each year passes its sting is not as sharp. But there are always days when the sense of loss is at its most raw.
Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day are just some of the days that are universally seen as joyful occasions that for many are reminders of what everyone else has, but they have lost.
For many people, the void that sense of loss and loneliness is filled on Mother’s Day with the Mother’s Day Classic. Not only are you surrounded by many people who have experienced loss, but you’re giving your time to a cause that is working to save someone else’s mother.
In January 2014, Amy Gillman’s mum, Melissa McBride, was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Within a month, the malignant cancer had spread and was classified as a stage three.
That year was the Port Melbourne local’s first trip to the Mother’s Day Classic.
“That first year that I participated mum had been told that because she was young and healthy, she had a fighting chance. So I participated in MDC to show her my support, and she showed me her support by meeting me at the finish line,” Amy says.
Throughout 2014 Melissa underwent extensive treatment and invasive surgeries. The following year doctors told her that secondary cancer had developed and that she had approximately 12 months to live.
All year, her family held their breath and watched as Melissa went in and out of hospital undergoing further treatments, relying their collective will and her fight to make it to Christmas.
“Mum stayed strong, and on January 6, 2016, we celebrated her 44th birthday. As the 2016 MDC drew closer, my mum’s body became sicker. She fought with everything she had, hoping she could see me in a pink tutu. On 13 April 2016, my mum passed away surrounded by family in her home,” Amy said. “With the love and support of absolutely everyone in my life, I participated in MDC 2016 in Team Melissa McBride, joined by 80 team members all donning a pink tutu in my mum’s honour. It was a bittersweet day, but a day I will remember forever. Every year, I will participate in the MDC in my pink tutu, and I will do my best to raise more funds with the hope that they find a cure in my lifetime. I’m doing this for my mum.”
Amy’s first year of fundraising was in 2015 when she raised $3500, the next year she upped the ante and raised almost $8000.
“The first year I participated, it was just myself. In 2015 I decided to start a team, and we had about 20 friends and family join on the day, including my mum who we pushed around the Tan in her wheelchair. After the event, she made me promise to continue doing MDC every year with a team and to be wearing pink tutus in her honour,” Amy said.
In 2016 the event was only a few weeks after Melissa had passed away.
“Last year I was joined by a massive team of over 80 members consisting of family and friends. Everyone came donned in pink and wearing pink tutus just for my mum,” Amy said. “Everyone who walks by your side has been affected by breast cancer in some way – whether they know someone going through it, someone who has lost their battle, someone who has survived or is a survivor themselves. The day is about remembering their special loved ones and the journey they went through due to this devastating disease, all the while celebrating the lives of those who have beat it.”