From painting beautiful art to raising two wild-eyed girls, Ash Leslie is a woman of many talents. Home to the South Coast, Ash has been a part of the Fabrik family for years, creating beautiful prints for us since we launched our first digitally printed collection in 2020.
Ash has captured our hearts with her story as well as her drive to raise awareness around breast cancer, especially the importance of regular self-checks.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I am an Artist, Mum to two girls - three years and five months, and a wife. We live in an old miners cottage in a beachside suburb surrounded by bushland with our friends and family close by. At the moment I spend most of my days juggling my kids whilst working from home on my art practice.
Tell us about your experience with breast cancer.
My Mum sadly passed away from Breast Cancer when she was 49 years old. I was 22 at the time and it was my first experience with anyone I knew having cancer. She had been diagnosed quite late, so after having a mastectomy they discovered that the cancer had spread and she began to deteriorate quite quickly and she needed full-time help. I quit my job to become her carer and took her to chemotherapy and radiotherapy appointments, but unfortunately she passed away only 6 months after diagnosis.
Where have you found comfort and support?
I had a lot of support from my family. My husband had luckily entered my life the year before so he became my rock. I've got some wonderful people in life who loved my Mum so it's great to be able to talk about her with them. She was also so positive and brave so she left me with some really inspiring memories.
What advice would you give to other women who may be caring for a loved one going through Breast Cancer?
Probably to just accept help for yourself. I took on too much for a 22 year in retrospect. I'm an only child and my Dad needed to work so I saw it as my responsibility to look after my Mum. I went into this survival mode which was a great coping mechanism. But I wish I had taken more time to just take her to the beach, paint her nails, have a chat about life. I've sought out a bit of grief counselling in recent years which was helpful too.
What has been the most challenging thing for you?
There's so much that has challenged me losing my Mum. I'm so lucky to have a wonderful support system in life, but nothing compares to her comfort. Her not being there for the big moments in my life and not meeting my daughters will never be ok, but I know how lucky I am to have had her as a mum and that she set me up to have a wonderful life.
Have you found any positives present in your life today due to your experience?
I have a greater appreciation for life in general I think. I don't always feel grateful, or live my 'best life' but I don't sweat the small stuff. I go for things I want and care less about what people might think. I know that without our health we have nothing. I check my breasts regularly which is something I never did before my Mum was diagnosed. I know if I ever find anything I'm concerned about on any part of my body I will head straight to my G.P and I'll be teaching my girls to do the same.
We share these stories in the hopes of reaching zero deaths. By purchasing a tee, you are helping to fund the National Breast Cancer Foundation's research, support and empowerment as well as raising awareness for Australia's most commonly diagnosed cancer.
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