When Wendy found out eight years ago that she had breast cancer, it was a life-changing experience. “I am not the same person now”, she says. “Sometimes I hardly recognize myself”. Wendy says she was a quiet girl from the country – a single mum, working hard to care for and support her children. Her diagnosis changed all that. Whilst being around for her family was – and still is – a priority for her, she discovered that there was not a lot of clear information, support or understanding of the practical needs of people experiencing breast cancer. So, along with her friend Barb Zimmerlie, they founded Be Uplifted Inc, a not-for-profit charity in the North Brisbane region which supports in both a practical and financial way those diagnosed with breast cancer and also their family.
The support comes in many forms and on many levels. They help with financial expenses, gift baskets dropped off at the door, crocheted ‘breasts’, information that comes from first-hand experience, and a supportive group of people who can understand, encourage and uplift. “A diagnosis can change you completely” says Wendy. “So many things change, and the disorientation can severely rock your confidence and sense of self. Women can feel they have become strangers to themselves”.
The organization also provides a place for women to be able to give to others. “Our group of ladies is amazing”, says Wendy. “They all have something unique to offer. Working in a team lets us do so much more. Whenever something is needed, somehow the right person steps forward. And as we work together, we are really encouraged ourselves.”
Wendy said that she would never have taken on something like this before her diagnosis. “I lived a fairly quiet life. Now I am involved in so many things, there are never enough hours in the day. But I love it – I am so passionate about what I do, and so inspired by the people I work with. And there is still so much more we want to achieve”.
If you want to know more about Be Uplifted Inc, you can contact them through their website, www.beuplifted.org.au, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.