Lisa McIntyre was just 35 years of age when she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.
The disease wasn’t what frightened the mother of two the most though.
It was the thought of her children, Benji, 4, and Samara, 2, growing up without their mother that she couldn’t bear.
“It’s still the scariest thing to think of,” she said.
Mrs McIntyre was “very, very sick” when she was formally diagnosed in the latter part of 2013.
Her bowel became completely obstructed and she was in and out of the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San). The cancer then spread to her liver, stomach lining and into her ovaries.
She underwent six colonoscopies, a bowel resection and a partial hysterectomy.
Two years on, she continues to undergo chemotherapy each fortnight at the San. It’s not easy, but her children remain her focus.
“No one would like going through chemo every two weeks,” she said.
“A lot of people would throw in the towel, but when I look at my children, I know there’s no way I’m going to stop.”
Mrs McIntyre said the hospital’s staff have also helped make the experience that little bit easier.
“It’s nice to walk through the hospital and see all the nurses,” she said.
“They’ve always got huge smiles on their faces and they all know my name. They know my kids and they know that Benji [now 6 years old] has just started school.
“It’s not a horrible place to visit, it’s just a horrible thing to get done while I’m there.”
This weekend, Mrs McIntyre is participating in the San Run for Life event with husband Alan and children Benji and Samara.
The popular fun run was last held in 2010 before being put on hold while the San’s major redevelopment was carried out.
The money raised this year will go towards the San’s new cancer treatment centre, with entrants encouraged to run or walk in memory of a loved one whose life has been touched by cancer.
“We wanted to pay it forward,” Mrs McIntyre said.
“We love the San and this is an opportunity to say thanks and to help them help other cancer patients.
“My family and friends are really walking for us all, and the fact that we are all still together.”