Lily Kelcey
Humans of Woodlea

Lily Kelcey

The value of community when battling breast cancer as a new mum

They say there are few greater joys as a mother than holding your baby for the first time, but at a time when Lily Kelcey was desperate to invest all of her emotion and energy into her 6-week-old son, she was hit with some painful news – at 27, she was told she had breast cancer.


In an effort to prevent the diagnosis from shattering their new family life, Lily put all her efforts into staying positive and tackling one stage of treatment at a time.


“Staying in a positive mindset was the only option for me to get through my cancer journey. I didn’t want any of my emotions affecting my son Sebastian, so every day I woke up with a smile on my face and put every ounce of energy I had into making each day happy for him.

“The days passed and before I knew it I was ticking off treatments while getting closer to being cancer free. Seb was growing into such a beautiful little boy who seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I had no hair or eyebrows anymore, he knew my voice and my smile and that’s what kept me going, even on my darkest days.


“My husband was my rock through it all, encouraging me to keep drinking water to flush the chemo out faster, to go for our afternoon walks everyday so I could get some fresh air and clear my mind. Even on my chemo days when I’d be dragging my feet, and our standard 20 minute walk would turn into an hour, he’d walk right by my side the whole time.”


“Those walks on some days were my lifeline, even since completing all my treatment and surgery, I still go every day,” she said.


When Lily was too unwell to join a mothers group due to the immunosuppressant results of chemotherapy, local community group organiser Jono Ingram from “We Love Aintree” was unyielding in his resolve to make Lily feel involved. He helped her to start a playgroup for young women with children.


Not only was Lily valiantly marching on with her journey through motherhood post-diagnosis, she was also working towards making her community a more inclusive place.


“I couldn’t join a mothers group because of my treatment, which was disappointing as I’d been so eager to get to know some other mums – it could feel quite lonely at times. Sebastian had also missed out on socialising with any other kids for the first eight months of his life while he was stuck inside with me. Jono was determined to help me out and ended up encouraging me to engineer a play group for younger kids, specifically so that I could join in.”


Lily said she has become especially close to her neighbour Tori, who is also a young mum battling cancer. The pair instantly hit it off.


“Having Tori’s support and watching the boys have their play dates meant the world to me.”


Lily has now been cancer free since July 2019 and is enjoying every single day that life throws at her with her beautiful son.


Lily’s story is part of Humans of Woodlea, an initiative by the fully integrated master planned community that seeks to highlight the unique stories of its residents, whilst showcasing its diversity and spirit.