When it comes to helping out a friend in need, sometimes it takes a big dose of bold courage.
In the case of the friendship between Blayney’s Tanya Tyrrell and Julia Dickson, however, it could also be called bald courage.
Diagnosed with the aggressive breast cancer over 18 months ago, Ms Dickson has been on a rollercoaster of medical treatments and emotions ever since.
On Saturday night, the Blayney community opened its heart and its pockets, raising $57,000 to help Ms Dickson and her family afford the expensive immunotherapy drugs needed to combat the cancer.
As the drugs are not subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for Ms Dickson’s category of cancer, the cost of each dose is $6500 - the exact amount raised by her friend Ms Tyrrell – who had her head shaved during the event.
“She is absolutely amazing,” Ms Dickson said.
“She set a target of $2500, but the community in Blayney really got behind her and at the end she’d raised $6500.”
When Ms Tyrrell contacted Ms Dickson to tell her how much had been raised, the usually calm and controlled Ms Dickson was brought to tears.
“I am extremely overwhelmed,” she said.
“I cried all Monday afternoon after Tanya told me how much they’d raised.
“We’re staggered by the response and we really can’t thank everyone enough for everything that they did - the organisers, the people who came along, and everyone who sent messages of love and support.”
The good news is that the tumours found in Ms Dickson’s brain when the breast cancer spread have been rendered stable.
Ms Dickson is now in her second week of treatment and has already undergone one week of the new immunotherapy drugs.
“I have one week of both immunotherapy and chemotherapy, then a week of chemotherapy and then a week off when I go and see my oncologist,” she said.
“Everyone is feeling really positive that the results will be good.
“This money is life-saving.”