13 February 2018
In 2012, at just 25 years of age, Rachel Quinzi was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, news which changed her life forever.
“Four weeks before I was diagnosed I noticed some lumps in my neck and went to go and see my doctor. He thought I had an overactive thyroid but wanted me to go to do further tests and get a blood test. Almost immediately, I had a feeling that the news would not be positive.”
Unfortunately, Rachel’s worst fears were realised with tests confirming that she had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was told she needed to start treatment immediately.
“It was the worst day of my life, everyone felt sorry for me and no one knew what to do. The day that I was diagnosed really did change my life forever.”
Motivated by her unexpected diagnosis, Rachel’s friends rallied around her and in 2013, signed up to take part in the Adelaide Central Relay For Life.
“My friends created my Relay For Life team Quinzi’s Sisters From Other Misters to support me following my cancer diagnosis,” Rachel explains.
The 2013 event was particularly special for Rachel. Even though she was in the middle of treatment, she was able to make it to the event and was given the honour of lighting the ‘candle of the present’ which burns throughout the event as a chance to recognise all those who are currently living with cancer.
“The first event was really emotional—I was only able to stay for a couple of hours, but the atmosphere and support from everyone, particularly my friends, was inspirational.”
Following her diagnosis, Rachel underwent nine months of chemotherapy, countless treatments, 19 blood transfusions, CT and PET scans and a number of blood tests.
Although the cancer is now under control, Rachel still lives with a number of side effects. The treatment forced her body into early menopause and she developed avascular necrosis in her left hip which will force her to have a hip replacement in the future.
Despite all of this, Rachel’s outlook remains positive.
“Since finishing up treatment I am doing really well and living life to its fullest. Through taking part in Relay For Life I am able to continue to reflect on my own journey and also remember the others I have met along the way.”
Since her diagnosis, Rachel and her team, Quinzi’s Sisters From Other Misters have taken part in every Adelaide Central Relay For Life, raising over $45,000 for Cancer Council SA.
She is looking forward to the 2018 event and once again joining with her friends to show the world that because cancer never sleeps, she’ll never give up.
“I participate because it makes me feel like I am doing something in the fight against cancer and giving hope towards a cancer free future.”
“No one should have to go through what I went through. Taking part is my chance to honour those who have lost their lives to cancer and also support those who are currently going through treatment.”
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size says that Rachel’s story is a true inspiration.
“Knowing that the money raised through Relay For Life goes towards supporting South Australians like Rachel is really special. We all have our reason to Relay and through taking part, you are making a real difference in the lives of those diagnosed with cancer every day.”
Held over 19 hours at the Adelaide Showgrounds, the Adelaide Central Relay for Life is the largest Relay in the state, bringing together teams from across the community to unite in the journey towards a cancer free future.
The 2018 Adelaide Central Relay For Life will be held from Saturday, 24 to Sunday, 25 February. At the last Adelaide Central Relay For Life in 2017, the community raised over $200,000 for Cancer Council SA.
All money raised through Relay For Life goes towards funding world-class cancer research, cancer prevention and advocacy programs, and providing support services to help those affected by cancers at every stage of their journey.
For more information on the Adelaide Central Relay For Life and to register, visit www.relayforlife.com.au.
Registration fee is $25 and includes a t-shirt and a free breakfast on the Sunday of the event.
Date:Saturday, 24 to Sunday 25 February
Time: 2.00pm Saturday to 9.00pm Sunday
Location: Main Arena, Adelaide Showgrounds