SHOALHAVEN Mayor Joanna Gash is determined not to let breast cancer keep her out of the city’s top job for long.
She called a Wednesday morning press conference to make public the news of her diagnosis.
However, she was quick to point outalthough she expected tough times ahead, at this early stage she only intended on taking about one week of leave.
She emphasised she would “absolutely not be stepping down from her role as mayor”.
Cr Gash will undergo surgery to have a biopsy taken from one breast on Monday at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
Following that procedure she has planned to take about a week’s leave. Deputy Mayor John Wells will take over the role in her absence.
She expects to receive the test results from the biopsy about eight days later.
“It was discovered a couple of weeks ago through a regular breast screen,” Cr Gash said.
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock urged Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash to take more time off as she underwent treatment for breast cancer.
“My belief is that Jo should take some months off and concentrate on her health and resting - that’s what she needs,” Mrs Hancock said.
“That’s Jo, she’s a warrior who’s faced many challenges. But my advice is that she needs to listen to the advice of friends and family – and, above all, listen to her doctors,” she said.
Cr Gash considered it, “just another challenge in my life”.
“It’s another one I have to face,” she said.
“I’m very positive about this.
“I think people will understand it could happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, famous or infamous or where you come from, it can hit anybody. That’s the point I’m trying to make by going public,” Cr Gash said.
The announcement caught the community by surprise and prompted an outpouring of support on the South Coast Register website.
Grant Schultz wrote: “Cancer in all its forms is an insidious and devastating condition. It touches many, including my own family. My father is currently battling cancer and has been for some time.
“Publicising her diagnosis is a brave and commendable thing to do. It raises awareness, and of course, the chances that it may prevent others from going through such circumstances. Good on you Jo.
“I wish Jo and her family and friends all the very best. You all have a challenging journey ahead. And we are all aware you are up to that challenge.
“Best wishes, and get well soon.”
And this from Lou: “I wish our Mayor all the best as she fights breast cancer. From a family that has had to fight this diagnosis on more than one occasion, all I can say is never give in and stay strong, which I am sure you will do, Madam Mayor.
“All the best to you and your family and wishing you a quick recovery Mrs Gash.”