Family and friends have shaved their hair off in a show of love and support for a Perth mother battling breast cancer.
Lucinda Cunningham was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in April and in a “whirlwind” her life changed dramatically.
The 37-year-old Carine mother-of-two wants her shock diagnosis to be a warning to other young women to check their breasts, even if they don’t think they could be at risk.
In April, Ms Cunningham got her appendix out, but it wasn’t until after that operation she noticed a lump on her breast.
After recovering from COVID, she got her best friend to do a last-minute mammogram.
“I could tell straight away from her face that something wasn’t right,” she said.
Ms Cunningham had a double mastectomy and went through three rounds of chemotherapy. She will also start radiation and hormone treatment next year.
“It’s all happened really quickly and been a bit of a whirlwind. I guess as far as your life-changing, literally within one minute of finding a lump.
Ms Cunningham decided to shave her head on August 12.
You don’t know until you experience it, it’s hit home pretty hard.
Her aunty, uncle, brother and close friends all decided to shave their locks off to help make the daunting stage of her life a bit easier.
“I decided if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it with my aunty and then word kind of spread and my best mates were like ‘yep, we’ll jump on board too’. And then my brother was like, ‘yep, I’ll do it too’. So it kind of just exploded,” she said.
“So it actually made a really emotional experience quite a positive one because every time someone shaved their head someone clapped, so it was really nice.
“It meant a lot for me to have all that support.”
A total of more than $15,000 was raised by Ms Cunningham and her brother for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ms Cunningham said she had “good and bad days” and sometimes felt “a lot of mum guilt” when she couldn’t be there for her son Cooper, 5, and daughter Mia, 3.
“But most of the time I try and just live a normal life as much as I can, still try and exercise and still try and see friends when I’m feeling well enough,” she said.
She wants her story to help create awareness for other young women and mothers.
“I’m quite young to be having breast cancer, so I think if this helps someone else going through something similar or just go and get your breasts checked,” she said.
In Australia, it is estimated that 20,640 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to research organisation Breast Cancer Trials.
The average age of first diagnosis is 61-years-old.
Her mother Jenny said emotions were high the day she found out her only child had cancer.
“But I think all mothers should encourage their daughters to be vigilant because it’s not fussy. There doesn’t have to be a history of it in the family. It can just strike like anything for no reason,” she said.
Ms Cunningham’s older brother Scott Allen said he often felt “helpless at times”.
“You don’t know until you experience it, it’s hit home pretty hard,” he said.
Close friend Kent Dixon said he wanted to shave his head to also support his mum who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer last year.
He collected more than $14,000 for the McGrath Foundation through fundraising efforts.
“People talk about it more openly nowadays, I just wanted to support the people you love, who mean so much (to you),” he said.