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"My life changed forever. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.”

The diagnosis that changed everything for this mum of three.

Natalie Khoury remembers the date exactly.

“On Tuesday 12 November 2013 my life changed forever. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma,” Natalie said.

“I never thought that I would get cancer. Nobody ever thinks they’re going to get cancer. When I was given my diagnosis, I was shocked.”

The diagnosis came just one month before her 38th birthday. But despite her initial disbelief, Natalie, now 39, knew she needed to be strong for herself and her three young kids.

“I knew I had to be strong for herself and my kids.”

On her doctor’s advice, she turned to Cancer Council (13 11 20) for support. “That one phone call was all I needed to get the ball rolling,” she said.

Just as an FYI, this is an advertorial post for Cancer Council.

Cancer Council sent Natalie information to help her understand and manage her diagnosis and treatment – and when Natalie started to lose her hair and was unable to look at herself in the mirror, Cancer Council enrolled her in a ‘look good, feel better’ course. “I went home feeling a lot better about myself,” Natalie said.

She learned how to use makeup to fill in her thinning eyebrows and eyelashes, and how to wear headbands and wigs. After six months of chemotherapy and radiation, Natalie was cancer-free. “I then decided to give back to the Cancer Council in some way,” Natalie said. She decided to host an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

“I then decided to give back to the Cancer Council in some way.”

The fundraising event is an opportunity for friends, family or workmates to come together, share a cuppa and some delicious food, and help those affected by cancer. “I put on a beautiful spread with the help of my friends and family,” Natalie said.

She  ran the event like an ‘open house’, with a grand total of 55 family and friends visiting throughout the day. “I had purchased the Biggest Morning Tea apron and had all my friends and family sign it,” She said. “Everyone wrote such beautiful inspiring messages. This is one apron I will keep forever.” Not only did she get that keepsake for treasure forever, but Natalie also raised almost $3000 for Cancer Council, far exceeding her target of $1000.

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Natalie was one of 28,000 morning tea hosts last year; Together, Australians raised an impressive $11.9 million for Cancer Council in 2014.

Related: The cancer scare that spurred Angelina Jolie to undergo surgery again.

It’s through the fundraising efforts of people like Natalie and her friends and family that Cancer Council is able to exist. As the nation’s peak cancer control organisation, Cancer Council’s support is available to the 128,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer Council also funds research and prevention programs to help beat cancer. This year, Cancer Council is aiming to raise $13 million.

Here’s Natalie’s Biggest Morning Tea (post continues after video):

Hosting a morning tea is easy and flexible. There are lots of great ideas on the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea website. You can host a morning tea (or luncheon or work party) anytime during May or June. Cancer Council provides hosts with a free host pack full of recipes, tips and ideas to help run the event.

Natalie has already started planning her 2015 event; She is considering running the morning tea through her children’s school, where several mothers have gone through cancer treatment.

Related: What your friends with cancer want you to know (but are too afraid to tell you).

“Unfortunately it is not a happy ending for all,” Natalie said. “Recently a parent from the school passed away. “I thank God every day that I am able to tell my story, and give back by supporting those going through these life changing events.”

To get involved and help beat cancer visit www.biggestmorningtea.com.au

Natalie’s tips for hosting an ABMT:

  • Let people donate anonymously.
  • Make payment easy by offering online or cash donations.
  • Use social media and word of mouth to promote your event.
  • Ask friends and family to help you out on the day

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Cancer Council’s most popular fundraising event and the largest, most successful event of its kind in Australia. With the help of supporters last year, $11.9 million was raised to fund vitally needed cancer research, prevention and support services.

The official date of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea this year will be Thursday 28 May 2015. Morning teas can be held anytime in May or June. Register at www.biggestmorningtea.com.au to help beat cancer and save lives.

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