Nilla Sparks, local businessperson and travel expert with Travel with Purpose, was diagnosed with Breast cancer in October 2004, a moment that overturned her life forever. This year Ms Sparks has signed up for Dry July to raise funds for Solaris Cancer Care and help provide support services to others going through the same journey.
Dry July is a national event in which participants opt to go a month without alcohol to raise funds for cancer support organisations.
Nilla, like many of us, was happy and content with how life was. That was until her cancer diagnosis; an experience she attributes to changing her life.
“My Breast Cancer diagnosis should have and could have stopped me from doing, being, and achieving. However, I knew I had to face my Breast Cancer challenge head on and do whatever it took to stay alive,” states Ms Sparks.
Travelling to Perth for radiotherapy, Nilla had to leave her family behind. The thought of facing her cancer alone was daunting. This was where Nilla was introduced to Solaris Cancer Care, a support organisation for all adult cancer patients and their families.
She describes her experiences “When you feel isolated, scared, alone and unsure of your future it is invaluable to know that, you have people who are full of understanding and compassion by your side, this gives you hope and a feeling of being wanted and loved. These volunteers are ‘selfless’ giving of their time to help with the emotional and physical effects of cancer.”
The treatment was successful and Nilla was given a clear diagnosis in 2006. Nilla defines this as her wakeup call “My breast cancer diagnosis showed me how much of life I took for granted. For me this alarm bell woke me up. Now I truly understand the importance of doing what I love, which to me is travelling and helping others to have life changing travel experiences.”
With the support of her husband, family, and friends, Nilla has come out of her treatment more positive than ever. She urges the community to help others like herself who may be receiving treatment away from their family “I feel very blessed to have survived and thrived, and thank Solaris for all they gave to support me. I implore everyone to sign up or donate to my Dry July to keep services like Solaris Cancer Care going. “
You can support Nilla and the Solaris Cancer Care Great Southern Team by signing up at dryjuly.com.au for Solaris Cancer Care or donate to the following:
Nilla Spark Dry July profile: https://www.dryjuly.com/users/nilla-spark
Solaris Cancer Care Great Southern Team: https://www.dryjuly.com/teams/solaris-cancer-care-great-southern