Myrtleford takes ill Carly to its heart

A MYRTLEFORD mother battling cancer has been amazed by the generosity of “complete strangers” who have come to the aid of her family.

Carly Montgomery, 36, has had to spend weeks away from her family receiving treatment since she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after a pap smear in April.

She has two children Blake, 3 and Iza, who turns one next week.

“I saw my kids every two weeks — 16 days was the longest I went without seeing them,” she said,

“I can’t describe the community response.

“I always knew this little community got behind people, but I haven’t lived here for 16 years and yet I get stopped by strangers in the street — that’s what little country towns do for each other.”

Ms Montgomery said the 86 per cent prediction of survival she was first given with chemotherapy and radiation treatments had been lifted to 92 per cent with further internal radiation.

“It has all been a blur because all I could think was ‘I have cancer’ which makes you think the worst,” she said.

Ms Montgomery grew up at Myrtleford, attending St Mary’s Primary School and Marian College, before moving to Melbourne.

Her aim now is to spread the message that might help others avoid the disease.

“My advice to other women is to trust your instincts and be persistent,” she said.

“We can feel what’s going on with our body and we know when something’s not right.”

Support for Ms Montgomery has snowballed. What began as a pasta night has become a major fund-raiser with 270 tickets sold. Goods valued at more than $13,000 have been donated for an associated auction.

An organiser, Loretta Power, Ms Montgomery’s cousin, said she had never expected the event at the town’s Ablett Pavilion on August 30, would gain so much support.

“I’ve had people on the street and just hand me $50 or $100 — someone donated a cow,” she said.

Major auction items include a signed basketball top from Lauren Jackson and the Australian Opals from the London Olympics, a cricket bat signed by Michael Hussey and signed AFL jumpers from Brisbane Lions, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide.

For information, contact 0407 656 550 or email