My name is Francesca Bridgeese Hudson and I live in Newcastle, NSW. I moved to Newcastle to study at the University of Newcastle. At first, I got accepted to study Psychological Science and after a semester I decided it wasn’t the path I wanted in life. I went for an option that allowed me to connect with young people and to have more of an impact on them. I went with teaching and have done a semester of primary teaching and I am loving it.
The reason I went with psychology was because of the way I had been affected by cancer in my life. I wanted to help those that didn’t even know they wanted or needed help. Cancer started before I was born. My older sister had passed away at the age of one because of a rare mutation. After that we thought it was all over but when I was in year five my father got diagnosed with bowel cancer. He sadly passed away one year later. We all decided it wasn’t just a coincidence and, I being one of 10 siblings, we all decided to get tested for a cancer gene to see if that’s where it came from. All the boys got negative test results, but three out of the four girls did not. My oldest sister was diagnosed with bowl cancer in 2012. My younger sister and I also got diagnosed with the cancer gene and since the age of 12 I have had procedures and checkups every three to six months. In my final year of high school, I got diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I was in and out of hospital for the first four months of my HSC year. Luckily, they removed half of my thyroid and I was cancer free. On Mother’s Day 2019 my sister passed away due to her cancer.
I joined Canteen in 2014 and it has been an amazing journey. The amount of support I received that helped me manage and acknowledge my grief was something I didn’t know I needed – until I got it. Cancer had been a massive thing through my life. I finally had a group of people who got it and allowed me to know that it’s okay to not be okay.