WHEN Heidi Murphy found a lump in her breast two years ago, she had no way of knowing the battle ahead.
The mother of three, then aged just 28, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer three days after Christmas 2012.
Since then, she has been forced to have mastectomies of both breasts as the cancer spread.
Five weeks ago - two days before her 30th birthday - she was told it had spread to her chest.
But for Mrs Murphy to even get diagnosed had been a fight.
"They just kept saying you're too young, you don't have family history, it's nothing," she said.
"If it wasn't for me being annoying and persistent, and going back to my doctor saying it's growing…nothing would have happened.
"I eventually went (to the hospital)… they basically knew straight away that it was cancer.
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"It was totally invasive.
"Basically, all my breast tissue was cancer cells. Twenty out of 30 lymph nodes were cancer."
Mrs Murphy now requires a life-saving type of chemotherapy not covered by government funding, and her friends and fellow mothers from Drayton State School have taken up the challenge to raise $25,000.
Julia Brunner said a Facebook fundraising page, Heidi's Helpers, had rocketed with activity.
"Everyday people, random people are giving," she said.
"People want to do this, businesses want to do that.
"There's beautiful people who just want to help with cooking or cleaning, or the other dads who want to help Heidi's husband. Kids that want to draw pictures for Heidi's kids.
"That's what makes it so worth it."
HOW TO HELP
- Search for Heidi's Helpers on Facebook.
- Donations can be made to Heritage Bank - BSB 638-030. Account number: 10050027. Account name: C & H Murphy.
"I was only 28 when I was first diagnosed. Three months after having my son, I found a lump.
"I went to the doctor, and they just kept saying you're too young, you don't have family history, it's nothing - it's just mastitis.
"If it wasn't for me being annoying and persistent, and going back to my doctor saying it's growing, it's doing this, it's hurting. It took for me to go to my doctor and say I'm going to cut my boob off if you don't do something now, for him to ring the hospital and say she needs an appointment.
"I went in the next day and they basically knew straight away that it was cancer. They let me enjoy Christmas, and three days after Christmas, got told I had stage three breast cancer. It was totally invasive. That was in December 2012.
"I've been through chemo, radiation, mastectomy. Finished chemo for the first mastectomy, a week before my scheduled ultrasound and mammogram, found another lump in the other breast. It was stage two. They did mastectomy, chemo, radiation all over again
"I was halfway through radiation and they found a rash in the middle of my chest - and yep, cancer again. It had spread.
"It's in my chest wall. That was five weeks ago. Two days before my 30th birthday.
"We had specialist appointments in Brisbane where they basically told us to just give up on me, I'm a ticking time bomb, there's nothing they can do for us.
"I came back home to my doctors, who are awesome, and they said they weren't giving up. They want me on this new chemo.
"It's way more aggressive in younger women. When they told me about the first one, that it was stage three, I'm like what does that mean? And when they did the surgery, basically all my breast tissue was cancer cells. Twenty out of 30 lymph nodes were cancer. It was invasive, and that's because no one believed me, because I was so young, and I shouldn't have it.
"I've got to try and be positive for the kids. I try and stay positive, be happy, happy, happy, but then have my moments of losing it.
"I wasn't going to ask for help. But a week of arguing with my family over how we're going to find this money, and I thought, someone's offered to help. I thought put your pride aside, ask for help - and it's amazing. It's overwhelming. I seriously thought I'd lost a lot of friends and didn't have many friends left.
"It's crazy. I can't explain how amazing it is.
"My husband's not a high income earner or anything. He's working hard, and we're constantly at appointments where you've got pay for parking and petrol and work out babysitting. You're constantly forking out all this money."
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