Daffodil Day | Road to recovery

A HEALTHY and positive outlook on life has spurred Naracoorte's Helen Heard on during her recovery from bowel cancer.

Diagnosed with the disease four years ago as an 80-year-old, Mrs Heard and her husband Colin - both prominent businesspeople in the town - had been back in Naracoorte for two years after spending time in Sydney and Adelaide.

Naracoorte's Helen Heard relaxes at home with Anti-cancer: a new way of life, a book by Dr David Servan-Schreiber that she attributes much of her outlook on life and approach to cancer to.

Naracoorte's Helen Heard relaxes at home with Anti-cancer: a new way of life, a book by Dr David Servan-Schreiber that she attributes much of her outlook on life and approach to cancer to.

In Adelaide Mrs Heard started and ran a well-being group with the help of the Cancer Care Centre, focusing on healthy living and to help others whose health may benefit.

Mrs Heard credits her health and resilience against cancer to this healthy lifestyle - something which may have prevented her from getting cancer much earlier in life.

But that was almost to Mrs Heard's detriment.

After first being diagnosed with the cancer, which had progressed to the glands, as well as blood clots in her lungs Mrs Heard was told by a chemotherapist she was "too old" to undergo chemotherapy.

Despite this another chemotherapist was found and Mrs Heard started the long and at times difficult treatment process - being driven to Adelaide by Mr Heard and supported by her two sons who are both in medical professions (one a doctor and the other an epidemiologist).

"It's does knock you around a bit," she said.

"It really takes a year out of your life (between travelling and recovery)."

But, not a person to dwell on negativity, Mrs Heard got through it.

A book given to her years ago has helped greatly.

Anti-cancer: a new way of life, by Dr David Servan-Schreiber, details an approach to living with cancer, in which the author discloses his own diagnosis with a malignant brain tumor at the age of 31 and the treatment program he put together to help himself beyond his surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Mrs Heard said she lends it to people who have been diagnosed with cancer to help them, along with offering her own advice.

"When you go shopping, stick to the perimeter (where healthy food is stocked)," she said.

"Buy lots of fruit and vegetables, and walking helps - exercise is vital."

But importantly: "don't spoil your fun" - allow yourself a treat every now and then.

Mrs Heard has now been in remission for nearly three years and is feeling healthy and happy.

She volunteers at Longridge Aged Care where she is involved in running the Longridge Happy Crafters.

"We have a group of up to 25 women who get together and do a bit of knitting," she said.

The group raises money for the facility which is used in various projects there.

This volunteer work has given Mrs Heard an opportunity to contribute back to the community doing what she does well.

"Life's good," Mrs Head said. "I don't want to give it up just yet."

NARACOORTE'S Cancer Council SA branch will hold its annual Daffodil Day fundraiser on August 22.

From 9am there will be a produce/trading table in front of Heard Bros on Smith St.

A raffle will offer prizes of a crochet baby rug and MiniJumbuk wool pillows.

The largest national fundraising event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Daffodil Day raises essential funds for cancer research, prevention and support services.

The daffodil is the international symbol of hope for all touched by cancer.

This year Daffodil Day aims to raise over $9.7 million to fund the cancer control initiatives, patient support and research services of Cancer Council's eight state and territory member organisations.

More than 10,000 volunteers are expected to staff over 1200 Daffodil Day sites across Australia on the day.

Donations can be made to Daffodil Day at any time at this website.