Double blow: Sisters diagnosed with cancer six weeks apart
Sisters Aisling and Margaret Cunningham were busy raising kids as single mothers and preparing to launch their own business when their lives were turned upside-down.
In what is thought to be a "very bad coincidence", both were diagnosed with breast cancer just six weeks apart.
The incredibly close sisters, who also live next door to each other in Brisbane's Ascot, were shocked when Margaret was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer in August 2020 after noticing a significant change in her breasts.
Over the same period, Aisling was experiencing discharge from her breasts which she was seeking treatment for, although nothing was found.
An ultrasound would eventually find a tiny tumour, and while everyone told her it was probably nothing, she had a "sinking feeling in her stomach" that it was cancer.
Aisling was diagnosed with ductal breast cancer, which required surgery and chemotherapy. Margaret's treatment has been more aggressive, she started with chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, followed by two surgeries and now she is beginning radiation.
"It was very unexpected," Aisling told The Courier-Mail.
"We live next door to each other, so I was helping Mags once she was diagnosed with the kids and cooking and everything.
"We are both quite positive people, so I think we've been able to help each other that way and we both understand what each other is going through."
Aisling remembers a specific moment when she was having surgery at the Mater Private Hospital Brisbane while Margaret was downstairs having chemotherapy.
The sisters never realised how important it would be to live next-door to each other until they relied heavily on the support.
"Our treatment was quite different," Margaret said.
"Ash had surgery first and then chemo, I had chemo and then surgery. The days Ash felt bad I had chemo the week before so I could then take the kids and then the following week she would do it."
Margaret has two kids, a 10-year-old son and a six-year-old girl, and Aisling has a nine-year-old daughter.
The Cunningham's will be participating in the International Women's Day Fun Run on March 7, raising money for Chicks in Pink - so far they have raised more than $21,000.
"Mater have been amazing, I can't speak more highly of them," Aisling said.
"Everyone has been so supportive and have made it less scary, they've made a bad situation a bit easier."
To show your support to Aisling and Margaret you can donate to their page via the link:
Originally published as Double blow: Sisters diagnosed with breast cancer six weeks apart