Youngest breast cancer survivor's tragic blow 20 years on
THE odds may be stacked against her but a Sunshine Coast mother isn't letting cancer rip her family apart again as she fights her "longest battle” for the second time in 20 years.
Halie Adams, 40, was the youngest woman in Australia to ever be diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 20 years old, just six years after losing her mum and aunty to the same fate.
The mum-of-two was recently dealt the devastating news one of her ovaries was the size of a watermelon from stage four ovarian cancer, which had spread to her liver, heart and lungs.
"I'm a strong woman and I'm a fighter, I've been through some tough times and this is just a new journey I'm going to fight,” she said.
In 2000, Ms Adams was still overcoming the death of her mother when she found the lumps in her breasts, shocking doctors with the "aggressive” cancer in her young body.
"It was very unexpected and completely unheard of... I knew I had a big challenge a head of me,” she said.
She endured nine months of chemotherapy and chose to freeze her eggs before nine-hours under the knife for a double mastectomy operation where the cancer was finally defeated.
Doctors later realised Ms Adams held the strongest breast cancer gene, BRAC1, which put her at a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer compared to someone without the mutation.
"We found that all out after chemo... I was in and out of hospital for two years,” she said.
Ms Adams didn't let her history define her and went on to travel across the world, work in villages as a medic before having her two boys, Cody, 3, and Lachlan, 5.
A keen swimmer and disability carer, Ms Adams said her life was smooth until a gut instinct told her something was different.
"I thought I was pregnant at first, but when I got my period I thought that something wasn't right,” she said.
Ultrasounds and blood tests confirmed the worst- an ovary was the size of a watermelon, her cancer was back and it was littered through her organs.
The Sunshine Beach mum and wife finished her first round of chemo last week, but said her will to live would get her through.
"It's pretty harsh and I've got a big battle in front of me... but I show a lot of positive energy,” she said.
"Mentally and physically I'm very fit and can see a positive outcome at the end.”
Technology advancements were a "whole other world” than what Ms Adams remembered, saying women were supported on more than just a medical level.
"I've done this before and it makes me more determined to get through it,” she said.
"Due to my occupation in health and it's always me helping people... so I guess it's my turn.”
Close friend, Bei Sale set up a GoFundMe page to help Ms Adams' family with costs of everyday living expenses, which has raised more than $10,000
"It's truly amazing, I was just blown away and so grateful and appreciative of people just reaching out,” Ms Adams said.
"The support of all my family and best friends, and two boys is what's helping me through this.”
Ms Adams urged women, no matter what age, to trust their instinct and go to a doctor if they felt something wasn't right.
"We never know what life is going to throw in front of us... make it count.”
To donate, visit the fundraiser here.