Alla, Erin and Hagan. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

WHEN Erin Perry pulls on her Cancer Council Relay for Life guernsey every year, it signifies much more than just raising a few dollars to help towards cancer research and memories of her father.

It is also a reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.

Erin was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome more than a decade after the unexpected death of her father in 2001.

For more than a decade Erin and her mum Doreen Davis had raised thousands of dollars for cancer research in the hope of finding a cure for all forms of cancer, which will affect one in every two Australians by the time they reach 85 years of age.

But cancer was still the last thing on Erin’s mind with young two children and a husband, when advised to undergo screening for the mutated MLH1 gene, uncovered in 2014 by researchers at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Melbourne University, that had eventually contributed to her father’s death 13 years earlier.

Tests for the family resulted in Erin being diagnosed as the only gene carrier in her immediate family.

Carriers of the mutated MLH1 gene have an increased risk of a variety of cancers, and are actively encouraged to undergo screening earlier than the general public, on a regular basis.

“So then it was off to Melbourne for the cautionary scans, when they discovered a tumor in my bowel,” Erin said.

She had a 90 per cent bowel resection and a full hysterectomy in 2015.

Bendigo Relay for Life, April 20 and 21 at Backhaus Oval, Golden Square.

Register today at relayforlife.org.au and help make a difference or phone 1300 65 65 85.