When Samantha Galliet was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer at 29, her medical aid refused to pay for a new treatment. She was given 6 months to live and took them to court and against all odds made history by winning the first case of its kind in South Africa. Her experiences spurred her on to found PinkLink a breast cancer advocacy group. Subsequently she has been through a re-diagnosis of cancer, multiple surgeries and more than 80 intravenous treatments. During this mammoth 5 year journey with cancer, Samantha has been faced with many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and learnt powerful lessons from them: “It is impossible to stay the same after something like this but it is possible to change for the better.” “Humour is an essential part of my life and helps me get through many of the issues I am faced with” Samantha has plenty of these stories to impart that will help people see the lighter, positive side of dealing with life issues other than just cancer. Samantha uses the life challenges she has been faced with to empower and encourage others. Samantha wants to spread a message of hope and inspire women to believe in their potential and never give up. She continues to fight for cancer patients rights and educate people on how to ensure they receive what they are entitled to.
Womans day talks: What does it mean to be a woman? Society seems to define this through certain specific stereotypes. We are constantly bombarded by images of the 'perfect' women through the media. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was forced to reassess my own feminine ideal. “The breast cancer removed what I believed to be my defining feminine features: my breasts and my hair. I had to rediscover who I was and what made me a woman. “Consciously connecting with the real Samantha that was not characterized by external features and societies interpretation of what makes us feminine helped me rediscover myself.” “Redefining what was important to me and not what others wanted from me was vital to finding the real Samantha. This might not be the same as what others expect of me but it is what makes me truly happy.”