Clare Foley Henderson was by far one of the most effervescent, warm, loving people to grace this earth and knew how to light up a room in an instant. Her zest for life was contagious and love of rugby union unparalleled.
In October of 2016, Clare found a lump in her breast, and in true “Foley fashion” the initial shock was tempered by the optimism and faith in the amount of quality research and accessible treatments available. Nothing would get in the way of her busy social life or work at Rugby Australia where she was unsurprisingly the crowd favourite. She conquered chemotherapy like a true champion with no complaints, hesitantly rocked a wig and had a positive outlook in tow.
When May of 2017 rolled around, Clare awaited the results of her BRCA gene mutation tests. The results came back positive, confirming Clare was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene fault. Spirits fractured momentarily, and Clare now had a new set of challenges to grasp and tackle. Her biggest support team, captained by husband Alex, coached by her family and made up of friends, knew the game ahead would be tough but like Clare, there were not any quitters on the field. The daunting next steps were a double mastectomy and oophorectomy followed quickly by rounds of radiation. Clare’s unwavering optimism and realism at the unknown road ahead was nothing short of remarkable.
Clare was passionate about Pink Hope’s mission. She believed that they hold the game-winning skills to help expand our knowledge of the BRCA gene mutation and the impacts it can have on us and our families. She would want to ensure that we are aware of our family history, she would urge us to explore any doubts, encourage us to ask the questions that may seem trivial and act if necessary, sooner rather than later. Clare’s diagnosis of being a BRCA gene mutation carrier spurred on her sisters to be tested and as a result has saved her little sister’s life.
A trying, resilient battle came to an end in January 2019, despite the best efforts of the incredible treatment teams and doctors who exhausted all treatment options and trial eligibilities to try and beat her incredibly aggressive breast cancer.
The world lost a light when Clare passed, and we would like to continue shining her light as brightly as possible through Pink Hope.