When someone young loses a battle with breast cancer, the tentacles of grief often extend far and wide.
That is certainly the case for Bree McCabe who lost her sister-in-law Megan (Meegs) eight years ago. When she succumbed to breast cancer her brother’s wife was just 33 and a mother of two, Harry and Toby who were four and one at the time.
“I was living a few hours away; I was 21. I moved home (to Gippsland) to be closer to my family and to help with the boys. No one was prepared for the worst. Even when the doctors told us, we remained positive and prayed for a miracle,” Ms McCabe from Cheltenham says. “Meegs was just 33 when she passed and was 29 when she was diagnosed. It’s so unfair. It’s still hard to believe that she’s not here with us some days.”
Ms McCabe first heard of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic when she was involved in printing signage for the event; she instantly thought it would be good for her brother and nephews to be involved.
“Before we started MDC my nephews would let a balloon go from their yard and send it up to their mum, or we would gather around and just be there for them on days like Mother’s Day or Meegs’ birthday,” she said.
Since participating in MDC the boys have embraced the atmosphere and energy the event creates, and Ms McCabe says it has helped them through their grief.
“I think the best thing was when they first read the messages on the tribute wall as they realised they are not the only ones. The other part that I think helps the most and keeps their mind on a positive path is raising money and awareness,” she says. “It gives them (and all of us) a real purpose to help others that are going through what we did. The boys raise money throughout the year by doing car washes and so far have raised $700 for the 2017 Mother’s Day Classic. They love knowing that they are helping to find a cure and that one day, we will find a cure. Being able to do this all for Meegs and as a tribute is very special to us all.”
Team Top Gun (named after Meegs favourite movie) started with Ms McCabe her brother, mum and dad and two nephews, in 2017 the team looks like having 40 members.
“MDC is something that has helped all of us; especially Harry and Toby. It is extremely important to all of us to help do whatever we can to find a cure so that other families don’t experience the loss of a loved one. No child should have to go through losing their mum; no husband should have to go through losing their wife,” Ms McCabe says.
She believes one of the most powerful images of the Mother’s Day Classic is seeing men, women, kids, grandparents; all ages unite in their common goal of raising money for breast cancer research.
“It’s unfortunate that so many people are affected by breast cancer but at the same time it is extremely moving and powerful to see everyone fight for a world without cancer,” Bree says.
Her advice for families who are right now going through all the challenges breast cancer presents is simple.
“The medication and treatments we have today are amazing! There is nothing that can prepare anyone to deal with this horrible disease but family really is the best thing, and I think if you all confront it head on together, it makes it so much easier for everyone! Friends/family/both whatever it is, just attack it together,” she says.