Finding Strength and Support: Alicia Jonkers' Journey with Choices Cancer Support Centre

13 February 2024
A young woman smiling as she stands in front of a screen door, with a sunny backyard behind her

In March 2021, Alicia Jonkers faced one of life's toughest challenges when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

Amidst the physical and emotional turmoil of cancer treatment, Alicia discovered a beacon of support at Choices Cancer Support Centre, where the compassionate care she received proved invaluable.

Alicia's connection with Choices began during her treatment at The Wesley Hospital. Leaving the hospital marked a daunting transition, as medication alone was no longer shielding her from cancer's grasp. Faced with uncertainty, Alicia found solace and direction at Choices.

The pivotal moment came when Alicia visited the Centre for a wig fitting and encountered the welcoming embrace of Manager Janine Porter Steele and the entire Choices team.

Alicia speaks highly of the supportive atmosphere, where the prevailing attitude was, "What can we do to make you feel better?" and "Let us look after you."

Alicia emphasises that Choices not only provided her with a chance to survive but also restored a sense of control in her life. The caring team allowed her to ask questions, addressing not only her clinical needs but also guiding her on how to manage the challenges of being a mother to a young daughter.

One of the remarkable aspects of Choices, according to Alicia, is the freedom it offers individuals to select the care they need. The centre caters to diverse needs, ensuring there is something for everyone in a safe and supportive environment.

Alicia highlights the uniqueness of each individual's cancer journey, despite the shared experience within the Choices community.

The wealth of support Alicia received extended beyond emotional care. Information sessions, covering topics such as nutrition and lymphedema, proved invaluable.

Alicia also engaged in transformative activities like Look Good Feel Better and magical Pilates sessions. She participated in strength classes tailored for individuals undergoing cancer treatment, adapting to the specific needs of each participant based on their treatment stage.

Alicia's commitment to her well-being led her to join an exercise study with the University of Queensland, showcasing the holistic approach taken by Choices in addressing the diverse needs of cancer patients.

Reflecting on her experience, Alicia passionately recommends Choices to anyone navigating the challenges of cancer. She praises the selfless dedication of the centre’s staff, describing them as "so many beautiful people just trying to help."

Formerly in IT and now working in Library Information Services, Alicia emphasises the importance of doing what one loves and making every day count.

While Alicia acknowledges that she will never be the same again, she expresses gratitude for the lessons learned during her cancer journey—lessons in empathy and compassion.

Today, with her 13-year-old daughter by her side, Alicia's story stands as a testament to resilience, community support, and the transformative power of Choices Cancer Support Centre.

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