KRYSTAL Barter was just 25 when she underwent a preventative double mastectomy.
A mother to two young sons, aged four and 11 months, Krystal made the heart-breaking decision because of her family’s shocking history of breast cancer.
A faulty gene has seen 25 women in her family (on her mother’s side) contract the disease.
All carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.
Krystal’s great-grandmother died of breast cancer at 68.
“At the same time my great-grandmother was dying my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time,” Krystal said.
“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36.”
Krystal first learned she carried the same gene fault in her teens and soon after the birth of her second son found a change in her breast tissue which prompted her to undergo a double mastectomy.
The surgery reduced her chances of having breast cancer from an estimated 85 per cent to one per cent.
While recovering from her surgery, Krystal started online charity Pink Hope which is Australia’s only charity designed to inspire women to be proactive and vigilant with their breast and ovarian health.
The rise of Pink Hope and its efforts supporting Australian women at high risk of contracting breast cancer has been down to a lot of hard work by Krystal along with some assistance from an unlikely source.
“The faulty gene my family carries is the same one that Angelina Jolie has,” Krystal.
“When she announced she had undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of contracting breast cancer it gave the issue the exposure we’d been crying out for.”
Krystal, who now has a third child, said the charity hoped to employ a genetic counsellor later this year to provide Australian women with more information about the risks of gene faults and the importance of knowing your family history.
“It will enable families to navigate the risk. The gene fault can be passed from either sex, which isn’t generally well known,” she said.
Krystal, an Australia Day Ambassador, will speak at Gloucester’s Australia Day celebrations in Billabong Park on January 26.
The celebrations begin at 8am with a flag raising and breakfast before the official ceremony takes place from 9am.