Women supporting women: what Women’s Health Week is all about

Women's Health Week story

Women’s Health Week runs from 6-10 September 2021 and aims to encourage Australian women to make good health a priority. 

This Women’s Health Week, we wanted to share Karlie and Jane’s story with you. These amazing ladies are both cancer survivors who are hosting their first Girls’ Night In together this year. Their friendship started when Jane reached out to Karlie to offer support, when she found out Karlie had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

‘Originally, I knew Jane only to wave to, as we live in the same neighbourhood, but we had never really spoken. Jane popped a note in my letterbox one day with an offer of support and her phone number. At the time of receiving her note, it felt like a lifeline,’ said Karlie.  

Karlie invited Jane around for a cuppa, and they chatted about their cancer experiences. Jane is a bowel cancer survivor and was able to share a few insights about treatment and offer emotional support to Karlie, whose diagnosis was still very new.  

‘Jane understood my unspoken fears. She was an amazing support to me emotionally, and also shared information and tips on coping with chemo,’ Karlie explained.  

Jane had a very lonely cancer experience, and really struggled reintegrating back into everyday life after her treatment, as she was missing those vital connections to other people who had been through what she had. She explains that she did not want Karlie to feel that same loneliness. 

‘My advice for Karlie was to involve people in your illness, ask questions, ask for help and don’t be backwards in coming forwards,’ said Jane. 

Inspired by Jane’s words, Karlie went on to share her cancer diagnosis with her family and friends, and eventually use her story to encourage other women to talk seriously about their health with one another. 

‘I aspired to be like Jane and use my bad experience for good. She became my role model and my friend, and I love her for it,’ Karlie admitted. 

Women are busy, all the time. Whether it be with our families, our jobs, or just life in general, but we tend to put ourselves last in the equation. To be able to have girlfriends that we can talk to about worries we may have with ourselves is sometimes easier than feeling like we are burdening our families,’ said Jane. 

I’m so proud to be one of Karlie’s friends. We have an unbreakable bond.’ 

Karlie and Jane’s Girls’ Night In by Candlelight is named after a symbol of their friendship. When Karlie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Jane gifted her a teal candle along with a note telling her to ‘focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.’ For Karlie, the candle was a reminder to take one step at a time and focus on getting through her treatment. Karlie now lights the candle at gatherings with her girlfriends, in memory of the women who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer.  

Karlie and Jane are looking forward to hosting their first Girls’ Night In together, and being able to give back to a community who have helped them so much in the past.  

You can encourage the leading ladies in your life to chat candidly about their health, and make their wellbeing a priority, by hosting a Girls’ Night In. It’s a great way to catch up and support not only one another, but all Queensland women impact by a breast or gynaecological cancer.