Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Going in to Bat for Cate; Walsh Family's Friends Rally to Help after News Her Cancer Has Returned

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Going in to Bat for Cate; Walsh Family's Friends Rally to Help after News Her Cancer Has Returned

Article excerpt

Byline: Wendy Andrews @coffscoastadvocate.com.au

CATE Walsh, a local mother of two, went to the Women's Health Centre for a routine pap smear.

She got a call back.

"I remember hearing the words 'it looks like cancer', it was so sudden," Cate said.

For a moment her world, and that of her husband and children, stood still. But then her practical, "just deal with it" nature kicked in.

The diagnosis was cervical cancer.

"I live by the motto 'build a bridge, get over it, move on', so that's what I did," Cate said.

"Next thing I'm in Sydney being bombarded with statistics and survival rates. I'd caught it early. I count myself lucky; I already had my two beautiful daughters so I had a hysterectomy."

That was 2013, and for the past four years Cate has been flying to Sydney for six-monthly check-ups and getting the "all clear" each time.

Cate is part of the Coffs Coast theatre scene, performing with CHMCC in Hairspray, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and, most recently, Wicked.

"We were bumping in at the theatre getting ready for Wicked the same week I had to go to Sydney for the usual tests. I went, got the all clear and came home," she said.

"A few days later my workmates at Comm Bank noticed my leg was swollen and urged me to get it checked.

"At Coffs' emergency department I remember the doctor's words, 'it's a storm in a tea-cup'. I had an ultrasound. It showed swollen lymph nodes in my groin. Then it all imploded."

In the following days it was further blood tests and a CT scan.

"On the Friday morning I left my doctor's surgery to go to a singing lesson. At 9.30am I received a call to come back to the surgery."

Cate's husband, Gerard, a senior constable with Coffs Clarence police, also received a phone call.

Cate and Gerard were told she had "several masses". Again, their world was turned upside down. Again, she drew on her resilient nature and asked the doctor, "define several".

"I admit, it was a rough couple of weeks," Cate said.

After a biopsy she was back at the doctor's surgery to hear the news.

"My doctor told me the cervical cancer was back. …

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