Dubbo booby bus breaks the ice in a conversation on the breast screen | Daily Central West

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Donna Falconer spent the heatwave swimming in the pool with her grandchildren and she owes the early recognition for it. The NSW Central West resident was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44 and is on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of breast screening. “Early detection survival saved my life,” Ms. Falconer said. “During COVID-19, people tend to postpone health checks because they fear going out, but if you leave it too long, the alternative is not good. Early detection is what is important, and knowing your own body and its changes. ”Ms. Falconer, of Dubbo, spent half of 2021 traveling the country in a motorhome she converted to the Groovy Booby Bus. She sold her house and moved in with her parents so that she could buy the vehicle six years ago, and since then she has been raising awareness about breast cancer in Australia. She passed through Victoria, along the Great Ocean Road and through South Australia to Uluru, spreading her message along the way. In 2021, she hit the road again, covering 22,000 kilometers through four states – five if you count the trip back through South Africa – to more than 100 cities in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. “The only state I haven’t been to is Tasmania, which will happen in 2023,” she said. The trips were fun, but the stats that Ms. Falconer and the Groovy Booby Bus push back against are startling. In 2021, more than 20,000 women and 170 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia, or one in seven women was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 85. As a survivor, Ms Falconer considers it her responsibility to publicize these statistics and encourage those eligible to sign up for free breast cancer screening through BreastScreen Australia and its state counterparts by calling the 13 20 50. “It’s quick and easy and only takes 20 minutes. And all the staff are specially trained to perform breast screenings, “Ms. Falconer said. She records her trips on social media and is known as” the lady in the pink van. “The van itself is a talking point, recognizable by the bras hanging from her bumper – a detail, Falconer says, helps parents bring up the topic of breast cancer with their children. ”She [the van] basically attracts attention wherever it goes. I could be at a tourist attraction, lookout and a bus pulls up and suddenly I could talk to 40 people, ”Ms. Falconer said. “It draws attention to breast cancer in a fun way, instead of in a medical or depressing way. . “In most places I go, someone could come to the van even before I got settled. She sometimes gives out free copies of her book, My Time, which tells her story of breast cancer. Ms Falconer said she had met “amazing people with amazing stories” on her recent travels and was able to strike up many conversations about their checkups. She also encountered challenges that come with all good road trips, including lots of flat tires, and once forgetting to apply the handbrake and watching in horror as the motorhome start to reverse, stopping only a few meters from someone’s campsite when their companion jumped in. and pulled the brake. In 2022, Ms Falconer will continue to get her message out – “it’s all about the statistics” – and encourage everyone over 40 to get tested for the breast. She considers early detection to have saved her life. “I am eternally grateful when I wake up and can spend time with my grandchildren in the pool, all because of a conversation that started when I was 44 years old. If I had waited, I wouldn’t have been here, ”Ms. Falconer said. “My mission and my goal is to make sure people know that they might have breast cancer and that they should get screened. There is a misconception that if you have no family history, you can’t get it, but only about one in ten people who get breast cancer have a family history of it. ”The rest are bad luck. Cancer does not discriminate. “Ms Falconer founded Pink Angels, which helps support patients through services such as housekeeping, childcare and providing care kits. The association operates. through donations Ms. Falconer also champions the work of the McGrath Foundation and encourages residents to donate.

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