When Linda Bullent reached her $30,000 fundraising goal this week her excitement was uncontainable.
Despite a gruelling chemotherapy and radiation regime to give her more time with family and friends, and still working part time and playing tennis, she had achieved her mammoth goal.
Now, no matter what the future holds, she has left her legacy that will help find a cure for cancer.
“So very proud of us all ... one of my dreams came true and we hit my $30,000 fundraising total,” she said.
“Thats $30,000 towards research and support.
“Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting me with all my shenanigans and getting to this fabulous total.
“It actually currently stands at $30175.45.
Scavenger hunt fundraiser
“Special mention to Staszie Stasz for asking for donations to my cause in lieu of birthday gifts - you got me over the line girl.”
Ms Bullent, who manages Morpeth Lodge Motel and Raworth Tennis Centre, was inspired to raise money after she was sitting in the chemotheraphy ward during her first fight against cancer in 2014.
At that time it was confined to her breast. She fought back with optimism, asking family and friends to send her jokes to get her through, and when she was well enough she created a Joke Book.
Edging closer to the target
She continued fundraising when she went into remission, and when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016, just after she had competed in the City to Surf, she continued to ramp up her efforts.
”How did we do it? Donations for my Joke Book first, then a Trivia Night, which wouldn't have happened without the support of East Maitland Kiwanis, Head Shave and Jingle Balls, our recent Cruisin for a Cause, Beanies sales, Team Tiger singlets and racer back tops and Morays birthday donations,” Ms Bullent said.
Now she has vowed to keep finding ways to raise money for cancer research, while her health permits.
At the moment recent scans have shown her tumours have either disappeared, shrunk or are stable, so it’s a realistic goal.
“Didn't we do well? But it can't stop there,” she said.
“I am open to suggestions for ideas to fundraise. I don't want to keep dipping into the same pot of people - you have all done so much already.”
Linda’s fun day for cancer research
Linda and her family held a fun day to raise money in December.
So far she has raised money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, UK Breast Cancer Foundation and for the Mark Hughes Foundation.
Her breast cancer journey led to a joke book
What’s next for Linda?
Ms Bullent is confident she’ll be celebrating Christmas with her family.
“It’s a realistic goal, so I’m looking to that for sure, then getting through 2018 will be the next challenge,” she said.
"I’ve learnt I am stronger than I thought I would be. I’m very happy that I’ve tried to be positive where I can, and my family, god love them, they are amazing, you see the best in people when you are facing adversity.”
Ms Bullent said her fundraising, treatment and work pursuits were helping to keep her on track.
“Because I am positive and raising money and still trying to keep going it’s lifesaving for me, it keeps me going when I’ve got these things to focus on,” she said.
“I’m happy with being the way I am now.”
Linda’s advice for others battling cancer
“The hypnotherapist gave me this line that I love and it is ‘only water what you seek to grow’ – I think that is a great thing to stand by. I try and live by that, I try to focus on the good and the positives,” she said.
“If I wake up in the morning and I feel good, then that’s a good day.
“Once you start feeling negative and sad and sorry for yourself you start feeling ill, and I don’t want to feel like that.”
Ms Bullent urged anyone battling cancer to keep their spirits high.
“You’ve got to try to be positive. There is hope until there is no hope. You have to focus on yourself and not focus on the negatives,” she said.