Emerald dreamBy CASEY NEILL
CRANBOURNE North mum Tracey Ryan just has one thing left on her bucket list – finding a cure for breast cancer.
The 50-year-old has terminal cancer and just returned from a three-week trip to Northern Ireland – the place where half her ashes will be scattered – to say goodbye to relatives.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” she said.
“Words can’t describe it.
“I didn’t want to come back, actually. I could have stayed there forever.
“I think we flooded Belfast airport when I was leaving.
“There were a lot of tears had by everyone.”
Tracey made the trip thanks to the people of Maldon in central Victoria who paid for her flights through a fund-raiser organised by sister-in-law Tess Ryan.
Tracey attended family birthdays and even a wedding.
“It was good to see them, I missed them like crazy,” she said.
She climbed a rope bridge up a steep embankment during a day of sight-seeing.
“We had to keep stopping and the lungs were playing up so I had to get my breath back,” she said.
“I had complete strangers going ‘we’ll carry you down’.
“It was worth even non-breath and pain.”
How did she get through it?
“A lot of drugs – and a lot of stubbornness,” she said.
Tracey was happy to come home to her husband Andrew, teenage son Leigh and pregnant daughter Erin.
“Leigh got a lot taller and Erin had got a lot bigger with the baby,” she said.
Erin’s baby is due on 22 August – Tracey’s first grandchild.
“If she’s like her mother she’ll go early,” she said.
“I was a month early with her and I was 12 weeks early with Leigh.
“It’s one very spoilt grandchild already. I can’t wait to hold that little bundle.
“I’ll spoil it while I can.”
Leigh’s 18th birthday in September is another milestone she’s hoping to reach.
Tracey was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2010 and it’s since spread to her spine, ribs, lungs and liver. Doctors say the disease will soon claim her life.
She wrote a bucket list in 2012 and has since watched Erin get married, skydived, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and received a makeover from Westfield Fountain Gate and Myer.
“Leigh goes ‘mum we have to find you some more bucket list stuff to do’,” she said.
“I’m going to have to come up with something.”
Tracey will continue to do her bit to find a cure for breast cancer. She works with Pink Hope, Breast Cancer Network Australia and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and directs Young Pink Sisters, a charity that fellow breast cancer sufferers set up to give back.
“I don’t want anyone else or their families to have to go through this,” she said.