Guest Blog by Helen Haddow

Life can throw you curveballs and I always tell my daughters, ‘your health is your wealth’.

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In 2012, the three of us kicked off our inaugural ‘Haddow Girls’ Night In’, simply because we’re so grateful that all three of us are healthy. With more than 50 Australian women diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer every day, it’s a blessing that we don’t take for granted.

Cancer’s taken so much from our family already. We’ve lost my beautiful Dad, my mother-in-law and next door neighbour too, but Mum is thankfully a survivor. I’ve seen first-hand, the devastation that cancer can cause, how it can rob you of the people who make up your world in the blink of an eye.

I love knowing that with every dollar we raise, Cancer Council SA will help another South Australian woman through her cancer experience, with support services to improve her quality of life, along with research into new treatments and prevention measures. I love knowing that no matter who she is, she’ll have more support and a better chance of surviving with these things.

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This year, we’ll hold our fifth ‘Haddow Girls’ Night In’ and apart from knowing we’re making a difference, we’ve had an absolute ball!

From the start, it’s been easy… we all have little things that make a fun night with our girls and for us, good company was the key!

We gathered ladies of all ages for a fun night at home, with delicious food and drinks. We’ve been lucky to be surrounded by lots of help, but our added ingredient has always been a quirky bit of fun.

We’ve had live cooking demos and collated a cook book with all our guests’ signature recipes. We’ve had basket weaving, eyebrow shaping, cake decorating, terrine making and demos of fool-proof hospital corners for bed sheets, as well as donations of gifts to sell on the night.

At the same time, my husband and our neighbours hold a ‘Boys’ Night In’ across the road, adding to our fundraising.

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Regardless of what we do, we’ve always taken time out to focus on our bodies, having a doctor chat to us about self-breast examinations and women’s health in general. Two incredible guests have shared their own cancer stories which emphasised the importance of getting together like this.

A ‘Haddow Girls’ Night In’ is now an important tradition for us. It’s a great excuse to catch up with loved ones and have a bit of fun. But most of all, it’s showing the strong, beautiful and inspiring women in our lives that if cancer comes knocking, they won’t be alone.

It’s something I’m proud to be a part of and will continue doing for my whole family, for my mum, for my daughters Ainsley and Katherine, and for my friends and all of the other incredibly special women in my life.

To turn a night in with your girls into something powerful, head to

girlsnightin.com.au

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