On Valentine’s Day last year, fitness and sports fanatic Sam Naudin’s world came crashing down after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Then three weeks later, just when she thought life could not get much worse, her partner of 15 years, unable to cope, left her.
The Castaway Beach woman was left to battle cancer and care for their children, a 21-month-old girl and five-year-old boy.
Sam’s battle included a mastectomy, the removal of 21 lymph nodes, six rounds of chemotherapy over six months and then six months of radiation treatment as well.
But she was not alone.
“I am very lucky because I had very strong support from my mum and my friends who went through everything with me,” Sam said.
“I also had the people at Bloomhill (Cancer Help Centre) where I could go and talk about what I was going through, get counselling or a massage and have people really understand.
“Instead of saying they understood, they said ‘I remember that’ and that really helped.”
Eventually Sam improved, and she credits her sports background with her recovery.
“(Having cancer) was like having a tough training regime – I’d tick off the chemo like training sessions and even though some days I was really knocked flat, I got up again and my kids (Wilsen, now 6, and Lili, 3) kept me going.”
Last Sunday, just 18 months after her diagnosis, Sam joined 1199 other cyclists to take part in the Brisbane to Noosa 100 Mile Ride.
And she completed the ride.
“It was fantastic, I was really surprised that I could physically make it … because I had only trained on a indoor trainer and I didn’t do much roadwork,” she said.
Though the ride was officially to raise awareness of cycle safety, with proceeds going to the Amy Gillett Foundation, Sam, with the help of supporters and local businesses, raised $3500 for Bloomhill.
“Having gone through what I went through I want to give something back to Bloomhill because of all the wonderful support they gave me,” she said.