Profile: Mullewa’s Belynda Mills, So Brave breast cancer awareness ambassador and model

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian
VideoSo Brave is a charity which empowers young breast cancer survivors and raises funds for breast cancer research.

This time last year Mullewa resident Belynda Mills was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer.

This year she’s a model and ambassador for breast cancer awareness project So Brave.

The national project began in 2015 and debuted in WA this year with Ms Mills selected as one of three ambassadors in the State.

Ms Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2016 after her two-year-old son accidentally bumped her left breast one day and she discovered a lump.

“It was an aggressive type of tumour so I needed six months of chemotherapy and then I later had a double mastectomy and a reconstruction,” Ms Mills said.

After a positive response to the chemotherapy, Ms Mills decided to apply for the So Brave ambassador role to get the message out there to women of all ages to check their breasts for irregularities.

“It’s just so important that all women check their breasts at least once a month; early detection is really crucial,” she said.

As well as raising awareness of breast cancer and encouraging women to check their breasts, So Brave ambassadors create a calendar each year to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Compared to this time last year when I was at the lowest point of my life to the reflection I saw on my photo shoot day, it was empowering.

On April 19, Ms Mills received a seven-hour full body painting and had a photo shoot for the 2019 So Brave breast cancer fundraiser calendar.

“It was amazing to see the transformation from the morning to the afternoon because I couldn’t see myself all day then they revealed the painting in the afternoon,” she said.

“Compared to this time last year when I was at the lowest point of my life to the reflection I saw on my photo shoot day, it was empowering.”

The photo shoot took place on Ms Mills’ farm in Mullewa.

Body paint artist Wendy Fantasia, Belynda Mills and Managing Director and Founder of So Brave Rachelle Panitz.
Camera IconBody paint artist Wendy Fantasia, Belynda Mills and Managing Director and Founder of So Brave Rachelle Panitz. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The painting was done by body paint artist Wendy Fantasia and photo shoot by Justine Rowe.

Following her photo shoot day Ms Mills had a fundraiser hosted by the Mullewa Arts Development Group and raised more than $5000 for So Brave.

“About 75 people came along it was a huge turnout for a little community,” she said.

“It was a very overwhelming day. The community have been so supportive.”

On May 26, Ms Mills will face the next biggest challenge in her life — walking for nine days on the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea.

“I will be walking in the footsteps of our World War II heroes and I’ll be walking to honour those women who fought and are fighting breast cancer.”

The 2019 calendar will be launched in September and can be pre-purchased at sobrave.com.au.

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