Some of you might remember Riarna when we met her through our Westfield Own Your Own Story campaign, you can see the video we produced below. At the age of 27 Riarna was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cervical Cancer. At the time her life was seemingly perfect – she was balancing running her own business with her husband with motherhood to their beautiful son Hunter. The couple were planning to add to their family.
But one year on this is not a story of tragedy but triumph. Riarna has completed her treatment and in now cancer-free. She has gone on to become an ambassador for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, with the aim to help eliminate cervical cancer though awareness. Riarna wants to inspire women like you to protect your own health by recognising the common symptoms of cervical cancer including:
- vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
- pain during intercourse
- excessive tiredness
- lower back pain
- bleeding after intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge
- leg pain or swelling
These symptoms can also be caused by other more common conditions so please don’t panic if you do experience them. However, see your general practitioner (GP) if you’re worried or if the symptoms are ongoing.
Riarna has also created a blog – Nourish Nurture Live – where she shares additive and preservative free recipes that she herself has developed. Another example of Riarna choosing to thrive not just survive.
In celebration of her story of survival Riarna recently sat for renowned photographer Danielle Symes, for a series of photos recognising a mother, wife and a cancer survivor. Riarna says “My body is an image of strength, an image of survival. The marks, the scars, a timely reminder that I have fought and risen above.”
We have chosen to share this story in celebration of Riarna and in support of all women who are fighting or who have fought cervical cancer, in memory of those who have lost the battle and to inspire all women to love their bodies, bumps and all.