One family's cancer journey

JERRABOMBERRA sisters, Mary-Rose and Liz Mulvaney, said they'll be participating in the Relay for Life until their "dead and buried in the ground".

"I've just had a really bad thought," younger sister Liz said. "I had a vision of Mary-Rose in a wheelchair and me wheeling her around the track!"

As much as the Mulvaney sisters love to joke, there is a very serious reason why they choose to do the Relay for Life - both their parents George and Rose were affected by cancer.

On Saturday, Rose, 84, a survivor of ovarian cancer will join her daughters and grandson David, 16 as members of the Chobsette's Chums.

It has been six years since Rose was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors discovered the cancer during a scan for gall stones, at one point they thought Rose might have irritable bowel syndrome but it turned out to be something much more sinister.

"I was lucky they diagnosed it when they did," Rose said. "I was very, very lucky as there aren't a lot of symptoms for ovarian cancer."

It was a difficult time for the family Mary-Rose recalled.

"When mum was told about her cancer, the doctor told her to go home and write her will and gave her all these palliative care pamphlets," she said. "The oncologist said there was a greater than 80 per cent chance the cancer would come back in two years but she's proven them all wrong. On you Rosie!"

It's clear Rose is a bit of a fighter as she proudly announced she successfully completed five laps over two days at the 2012 Relay for Life.

She joined the Survivors' Walk, Candlelight Ceremony of Hope and Closing Ceremony and snuck a few laps around the oval in between.

"It's quite long [walking] the whole oval," Rose said.

"I was delighted to walk ... there's people on the sideline waving to you and the atmosphere is lovely, it's very family orientated."

The Candlelight Ceremony of Hope is held in the evening and is a time to remember those who have passed away from cancer.

The Mulvaneys will be remembering husband, father and grandfather George who died in 2009 from a brain tumour and previously battled lung and prostate cancer. He was 80-years-old.

"Towards the end it was very tough. He tried to talk to us but it just came out as jibber," Mary-Rose explained. "He wasn't allowed solids, just pureed food that was like the consistency of honey.

"His organs got tired and the way he passed away was very peaceful. He had a big personality, all the nurses loved him."

George's photo will be one of many to appear in a slide show featuring community members who have lost their battle with cancer.

Relay for Life participants are asked to write a message to their loved one on a white paper bag and place a candle inside of it. A sea of these lit up bags are dotted around the field during the ceremony.

"[Relay for Life] it's great, it's such an uplifting experience and we're all there for the same reason ," Mary-Rose said. "It's a great experience, knowing what you're doing is raising money that is going towards research in the hope of finding a cure for cancer."

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