LOOKING AHEAD: Maree Harris and daughter Shannen are looking to the bright side after Shannen was treated for stage two ovarian cancer.
LOOKING AHEAD: Maree Harris and daughter Shannen are looking to the bright side after Shannen was treated for stage two ovarian cancer. Allan Reinikka Rokaharris

Rockhampton teen tells of cancer encounter

WHILE most of her friends were worrying about school grades, Rockhampton's Shannen Harris had bigger things on her mind.

The teenager's world came crashing down when doctors delivered a diagnosis of stage two ovarian cancer last year.

She was just 15. It was the start of a "long, hard road" for Shannen and her family.

Yesterday, with Shannen having been given the all clear, her mum Maree shared their story ahead of Pink Ribbon Day on October 27. About 180 Central Queensland women will be diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer this year and at least 40 will die from the disease.

Maree said the experience had changed the family's perspective on life.

"We understand we have no control over what goes on (in life) so it's time to make the most of it," Maree said.

She said when doctors delivered the crushing news, they had three days to get to Brisbane for treatment.

For the next five months, Shannen had chemotherapy in Brisbane with her mum and dad, Simon, by her side.

Most nights were spent in hospital.

"It was very hard," Shannen said. "I just felt like I was camping."

But it wasn't just an emotional toll the cancer diagnosis and treatment took on the family.

Maree said spending five months away from the family business, Funzone, also left them under huge financial strain.

Next Sunday they will host a Family Fun Day at Funzone to raise money for Cancer Council Queensland.

Maree said she wanted people to have fun for a good cause and hoped it would become an annual event.

"Cancer is not fought as an individual, but as a family," she said.

Maree said while her family was looking to a bright future, there were many others who hadn't been as lucky.

"As bad as we had things, there was someone out there who had a hell of a lot worse," Maree said.

Unite in pink

What: Funzone's Pink Ribbon Family Fun Day

When: Sunday, October 26 from 10am

Entry $30 per person or $90 for a family



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