Support for breast cancer survivors through Rockers for Knockers

ARARAT - Felini Health and Fitness will host 'Rockers for Knockers' on February 8 next year in support of local breast cancer survivors and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

The BCNA is the peak national organisation representing and supporting Australians affected by breast cancer.

Organiser Kelli Holtham-Felini is encouraging the Ararat community to attend and support 'Rockers for Knockers' which will feature four bands: Last Stand, Black Rose, The Spatts and Church of the leaking Chicken, with a goods and services auction ongoing throughout the night.

Ms Holtham-Felini said nearly everyone in the local community knows someone affected by breast cancer.

"Around 15,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year alone. Every time a woman is told she has breast cancer, the impact extends to her family, friends and those around her in the community," she said.

"Providing support for women and families affected by breast cancer is important for our local community.

"Rockers for Knockers is an excellent opportunity for locals to rally together and offer their support to those affected - be it our mates, our family, or perfect strangers."

Ms Holtham-Felini is no stranger to the disease herself, being diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year, just a couple of months after launching her new personal training business.

"I guess one of the hardest things was that I had only just opened my business and was devastated that I was not going to see my dream happen," she said.

"I was fortunate enough to have the help of a beautiful friend just breaking into the PT industry and the support of all the Felini Health and Fitness crew."

However, following surgery to remove the tumour and extensive radiation treatment, she has not only returned to successfully run her business, but also helped the Ararat Eagles' C grade netball team achieve back to back premiership glory this year.

She said the focus to return to her work and the court and along with the support she received from family, friends, fitness clients and the Ararat Eagles Football-Netball Club was something that helped get her through five difficult months.

"I had surgery to remove the tumour in May. Once I'd healed from surgery I really hoped to get back to work and into playing straight away but thought I would wait until I had finished my radiation treatment. Due to the opening of the new cancer care centre my treatment got pushed back a bit," she said.

"So I thought 'no stuff it, I am not putting my life on hold', I just wanted to do what I loved.

"I came back and played the last four games before the end of the home and away season while still undergoing radiation treatment. Winning that premiership was a wonderful reward after a rather ordinary year.

Ms Holtham-Felini's family has been doubly rocked this year, with the recent diagnosis of her sister Sherri Holtham with breast cancer.

Sherri Holtham underwent a double mastectomy recently and will receive chemotherapy and radiation to treat the disease.

"It's strange but when I was diagnosed, after the initial shock, it was pretty easy to get myself in the mental headspace to deal with it, however, when my sister Sherri was diagnosed three weeks after I had finished my treatment, I felt like my whole world had been ripped apart. This can't be happening not to my beautiful sister. I was in absolute shock," Ms Holtham-Felini said.

"With no family history of breast cancer that we are aware of I felt like our whole family unit had been compromised by this hideous disease.

"Sherri has an inner strength and will battle through this. My parents, husband and our children have been put under enormous emotional strain but have been there to support the both of us. I know one thing that it's so much harder dealing with someone you love being diagnosed but as a family unit we will battle this together."

Funds raised from the Rockers for Knockers ball will directly assist BCNA to support Australians personally affected by breast cancer.

This support includes providing the My Journey Kit, a free comprehensive information resource for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Rockers for Knockers will be held on February 8 at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre with entry $30 per head (18 plus only).

Tickets are available through Felini Health and Fitness, 2 Taggs and the Court House Hotel or by contacting Mark Hughes (0400254449), Scott Felini (0427725239) and Kelli (0438551671).

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is the peak national organisation for Australians personally affected by breast cancer, and consists of a network of more than 80,000 individual members and 300 Member Groups. BCNA informs, empowers, represents and links together women and families affected by breast cancer. BCNA works to ensure that women diagnosed with breast cancer, and their families, receive the very best information, treatment, care and support possible.

Visit www.bcna.org.au to find out more about our programs and services, including the free My Journey Kit for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

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