A bride-to-be who found two cancerous lumps in her breast on what should have been her wedding day is desperate to have her family join her from Ireland to help her fight the cancer battle.
Martine Dines and her fiancé Sean Keenan were on holiday at Hamilton Island on the day they were meant to tie the knot when she made the life-changing discovery.
The fit and healthy 29-year-old from Belfast, who'd moved to Australia seven years ago to live in Sydney, discovered she had breast cancer on the fourth day of the holiday.
The Irishwoman now faces a gruelling six-months of surgery, chemotherapy and fertility treatment.
'The advice given by the doctors is to check yourself in the shower but I was laying down when I found the lumps,' Ms Dines told Daily Mail Australia.
'It was quite accidental I found them while on holiday.'
Martine Dines with her fiancé Sean Keenan - the couple moved to Australia from Northern Ireland seven years ago
Martine faces six months of treatment including surgery, chemo and fertility in her battle with the disease
The 29-year-old is described as 'extremely fit and healthy' by the friends who set up her Gofundme page
In a moving Facebook post, Ms Dines detailed the battle ahead after her first cancer consultation: 'I will have a mastectomy, chemotherapy, fertility treatment to preserve my eggs, and possibly radiotherapy and more,' she said.
'I have never been so afraid in all my life and the word cancer makes my blood run cold.'
Ms Dines upcoming battle is made more difficult by the fact her family and friends are stuck 17,000km away in Ireland because of Covid-19 border restrictions.
A GoFundMe page started by her friends has raised more than $50,000 to help her bring her parents to Australia to support her as she undergoes treatment, despite the difficulties involved in applying for an exemption, securing a flight and observing the mandatory quarantine period once they arrive.
'I I feel like I’ve got an army in Australia supporting me, and an even bigger one in Ireland – the support has been incredible,' she said.
The money will help with airfares, her treatment and other living costs, with any excess funds to be 'donated towards breast cancer awareness in Australia and Ireland'.
'Being away from family right now is definitely the hardest part as I know they are hurting just as much me but I am in the best country for my treatment and care,' Ms Dines said.
Ms Dines, whose grandmother died of breast cancer while young, said she was determined to make her story public so that other women would self-check and see their GP if they discovered anything unusual.
'The doctors are quite positive that my cancer is treatable,' she said.
'It’s quite a common form of cancer, IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma), it's just not as common for someone of my age.'
Sean and Martine during their Whitsundays trip, during which she discovered the lumps in her right breast
'Now they need our help': Martine and Sean's friends had raised more than $50,000 to help her bring her parents from Ireland to support her during the cancer battle
Martine Dines is keen to raise awareness of breast cancer after her sudden diagnosis
She and her partner of seven years, Sean, had planned to start a family next year once they were married. Wedding dates in front of family and friends in Ireland were postponed in September 2020 and then again in May 2021, due to Covid.
'The fertility treatment is kind of insurance because some women can’t have kids naturally after the treatment but they can’t definitely tell how I’ll react to it as yet,' she said.
Her fiancé Sean responded to her post about her treatment by writing: 'Our story isn't over. Seven amazing years of enjoying the small things and having a laugh along the way, plenty more good times to come. Love you.'
He also praised his wife-to-be's strength and courage, saying he would always be by her side.
'Once this is over, I'll finally get to marry her at a third time of asking,' he said.
Ms Dines said many women had already reached out to her to say they were booked in to get checked since hearing of her story.
'Breast cancer is the most curable cancer if caught early. I never expected it to be me, to get cancer, especially not at 29 years old.
'I want to spread awareness and will live to tell a success story for others who will walk a path similar to mine.'
Sean Keenan praised his wife-to-be's strength and courage, saying he would always be by her side
She said she had gained mental strength during the Covid period last year which is now helping her deal with her cancer diagnosis.
'It’s quite ironic that at the start of this year I started a gratitude journal and every night I wrote down three things I was grateful for,' Ms Dines said.
'That has really taught me how to come to terms with the cancer and the fact that you do have bumps in your life. I do feel I’m a stronger person now than I was last year.
'Obviously the diagnosis was a massive shock immediately after that, it’s fight or flight, and I'm going to fight.'