THE PYJAMA PROJECT 2020: Q&A WITH BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and like every year since 2005, Sussan is proud to partner with the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). 

This year we are marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month with The Pyjama Project, a beautiful range of unique sleepwear pieces designed by Lisa Sewards, an artist, printmaker and breast cancer survivor. Since 2005, together with our customers, we have raised more than $2,400,000. We are excited to add to this impressive total with a portion of sales from each pair of The Pyjama Project collection going directly to supporting BCNA. 

Discover the women who inspired us in our film, Kimmie Jonceski and Lisa Montgomery, both breast cancer survivors whose journeys were made a little bit easier thanks to the support of BCNA. 

Q&A WITH KIMMIE JONCESKI

Can you tell us about the experience of first being diagnosed with breast cancer? 
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30 in December 2018. I was really shocked when I was given my diagnosis because I didn’t think that breast cancer could affect someone who didn’t have a family history and was quite young and healthy.

What’s your advice for someone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? 
Just take it one day at a time. It is really overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer. You are given so much information and it can be really hard to digest it all.  At the time of diagnosis you really need as much rest as you can get, so be gentle and be kind to yourself. Don’t think too far ahead; just take it one day at a time. 

Where should someone with breast cancer turn to for support?
I had a really supportive medical team, so I was able to get support through my doctors. They also encouraged me to become a part of the support groups that were available at the hospital. There were other women my age that had also been diagnosed so I was able to meet and chat with them and share our experiences. 

A lot of my questions were also answered through the BCNA website. There is a tool there named My Journey and it is able to give you information based on the type of cancer you have. It was really accessible and easy for me to find the information that I needed to help me along the way. 

Did you have a support person to help you through your breast cancer journey?
My mum was my rock throughout all of this. She was there throughout the treatment and the surgery and was able to do the little things that I couldn’t do for myself at the time. She helped me out in little ways like driving me to all the different appointments. She also cooked for me and even helped with housework. It all made such a big difference. I couldn’t have got through this experience without her help, I love you mum.

Q&A WITH LISA MONTGOMERY

How did you feel when you were first diagnosed with breast cancer? 
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012. Initially I was shocked and scared and felt that maybe I would die from the disease, so it was really a challenge for me. I was the CEO of a mortgage company; I had 200 people across the country that were relying on me. In that moment it just felt like my life would never be the same.

How important was it to have access to BCNA following your breast cancer diagnosis? 
When I was diagnosed I looked for information and BCNA was right there for me. I describe it as being wrapped in a warm blanket of support and care.

Where else did you seek support? 
I have incredible friends and family who supported me through my breast cancer diagnosis and through to wellness. They supported me in so many ways, sometimes it would just be a touch or a smile but it was so important to me. I couldn’t have made this journey without the support of my loved ones; they lifted me up and carried me through.

Do you have any advice to share with women at the beginning of their breast cancer journey?
My advice would be to remember to breathe and get the support and information you need to take your next steps.

We would like to thank our customers who play a vital role in our long-standing BCNA partnership – not only by purchasing BCNA products, but also by helping to spread the word about BCNA and the support it provides.

With your support, we are reaching out to those women and their families who need help. If you, or someone close to you, has been affected by breast cancer please go to bcna.org.au or call the BCNA Helpline on 1800 500 258.

Shop The Pyjama Project 2020 sleepwear collection here

Find out more about our BCNA partnership here

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