Nurse Dances Through Chemo Treatment With Doting Dad


A breast cancer patient who danced her way through chemotherapy with her dad is using her personal journey to inspire other women battling the disease.

Brisbane mum Shanon, 42, discovered a tumour in her breast just two years after her mother Joy was diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer.

Determined not to let her four-year cancer battle “get in the way of life”, Shanon took to social media to document her cancer journey at Mater Hospital Brisbane and the Mater Cancer Care Centre.

Shanon’s 80-year-old dad, Joseph, was by her side during almost every treatment session and the pair performed Tik Tok dance routines to make “chemo days” go faster.

“I decided to turn my breast cancer worries into a positive and started using TikTok. Then I pretty much danced my way through chemo!” said Shanon.

“I found it difficult trying to support myself through my treatment but also the need to reassure my children, family and friends that everything was going to be OK, when in fact I didn’t know if it was going to be.”

Shanon, who is now in remission, said her dad had been a rock throughout her treatment.

“He only missed one towards the end of my treatment due to having a heart attack and required open heart surgery,” Shanon, from Carina, said.

Shanon has undergone surgery, months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and finished treatment in January last year. Her mother is also recovering from her cancer fight.

“Initially it was just for my Facebook and Instagram, perhaps as a reassurance to family and friends that I was doing well,” Shanon said.

“I then started posting on another cancer support page and would have feedback from women as to how much they looked forward to them and watching me do these helped them through their treatment and made them more positive about the future.

“I filmed and posted a few scarf tying tutorials for all the ladies as being bald for 12 months I became quite an expert on this.”

Shanon said he was “devastated” when he received the call from his daughter to say she had cancer.

“The first few months after hearing the news I did not sleep, I would lay in bed at night crying at the possibility of losing her,” Joseph said.

“From the day she was diagnosed and to this day now, I say a prayer for her every night.

“My prayers were answered.

“I still believe to this day that the heart attack was from a broken heart watching Shanon fight this disease.”

He said creating the TikTok’s with his daughter brought joy to an otherwise not so joyous situation.

“They are special memories that I will always treasure,” Joseph said.

Shanon, an indigenous nurse, is working with researchers from The University of Queensland as the First Nations Cancer Clinical Nurse Consultant (FNCNC) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

“In Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are almost twice as likely to die after being diagnosed with cancer and have significantly lower five-year survival than other Queenslanders,” Shanon said.

“I know what it feels like to undergo cancer treatment as a patient, as a nurse, and as a First Nations person.”

Mater Private Hospital Breast Clinical Nurse Consultant Ash Mondolo said Ms Nealon’s attitude to coping with her cancer diagnosis was admirable.

“We know it’s a very tough time for our patients, and support is crucial. To see Ms Nealon’s dad having a boogie alongside her is heartwarming,” Ms Mondolo said.

She said patients used hobbies or side projects as a way to cope with cancer.

“Some patients take up knitting or crocheting, others write music, and some even like to dance,” Ms Mondolo said.

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