AWRCC Trust Fund enables breast reconstructions to be done in Albury | The Border Mail


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This will be the first Christmas of Regan Lions’ “new life”. The Howlong mum, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and had a mastectomy and then treatment, was the first person to have a breast reconstruction done at Albury Hospital. New $337,000 equipment, including for microscopic reconstruction, was funded by the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund. Mrs Lions, 37, underwent a seven-hour procedure done by surgeon Queenie Chan. “I would have had to have my reconstructive surgery down in Melbourne – I have been on the wait list for two years,” Mrs Lions said. “I still hadn’t any word from them as to when the surgery was going to be, so once Queenie came and I was able to get surgery here so quickly, it was just awesome. “To be able to have my surgery here locally made such a difference. “I was looking forward to this surgery as an end-point, to say ‘I’m done with this cancer journey, I can put it behind me and get on with life’.” Since Mrs Lions’ surgery, Dr Chan has performed an immediate reconstruction – done at the same time as a mastectomy – at Albury hospital for another Border mum. Trust Fund chair Michelle Hensel said it was an “absolute game-changer”. “It’s a very big decision, after surviving your chemo and radiation – some women have then have to decide whether or not it’s worth going down to Melbourne, putting their family through it,” she said. “Now it’s a one-stop-shop and the Trust Fund is trying to keep these amazing services right here on the border. “It’s also going to be used in head and neck surgeries, and it’s even been used on someone who had a motorbike accident.” Ms Hensel said the difference a reconstruction could make to women’s recovery was immense. “To be able to change women’s lives is just incredible, and what a wonderful first story this is – one of our cancer pals, who has raised so much money herself for the Trust Fund, to be the first recipient,” she said. IN OTHER NEWS: Mrs Lions, with the support of the Hearts of Howlong team, has raised approximately $30,000 over the last two Sunshine Walks. Friday will be a special day for the Lions family. “It’s the first Christmas where I haven’t been sick,” Mrs Lions said. “I have confidence.”

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