Tanya's story

Resilience in the face of adversity



Councillor Tanya Milligan is one resilient woman. After facing breast cancer in 2006 at just 36 years old, nine years later, she received the devastating news that the cancer had returned.  

“A second diagnosis was something we never expected, especially while I was Deputy Mayor of the Lockyer Valley. During this time our Mayor died suddenly and I had to step up to the position while I was going through treatment.

“Here I am, having chemotherapy with no hair, and now an Acting Mayor,” remembers Tanya. 

“An election was called pretty soon after and I decided to step up and run.

“I had a lot of people at the time say to me ‘you’re not going to run, are you?’ Implying that my cancer meant that I couldn’t, and I remember I was really upset by that … I kept thinking ‘just because I have cancer, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to do my job.’ Having cancer didn’t make me want to stop going after what I wanted. 

“So here I was running for Mayor, up against four other men, all while going through cancer treatment. 

“At the time, my friends would joke with me saying ‘Tanya, there’s five of you running and four of you are bald’… one of them was me,” laughs Tanya.

Showing just how determined she was, five months after her second breast cancer diagnosis, Tanya was elected Mayor of the Lockyer Valley—something she believes is due in part to the incredible support she received during her treatment. 

“I had such a great support network at the time from my family, friends and colleagues—I especially had an amazing support network from Mater—that’s why I choose to support Mater Chicks in Pink.

“It’s the simple things like the care packs you receive in hospital; to the scarves you receive while going through treatment that really make it that much more special. 

“While I was at Mater I always felt so supported and cared for and built many personal connections, especially with the breast care nurses who weren’t around nine years prior during my first diagnosis. The staff were just fantastic during such a difficult time. 

“In the nine years between having breast cancer, I saw such a difference in treatment options, care and research, so imagine what the next nine could bring!"​

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate—it’s why it’s such a personal journey and having all these options available helps make it that much easier. 

You can help other women like Tanya to know that they’re not alone as they go through breast cancer treatment. 

There are so many ways you can choose to fundraise for women with breast cancer through Mater Chicks in Pink—you could host a trivia or movie night, cut or colour your hair, or give up something you love—the ideas are endless! 

To create a personalised online fundraising page to get you started you can register your fundraiser here, or give me a call on 1800 440 155 to talk through your fundraising plans.