Day At The Track

Courageous Kiara says bring on 2021

07:34 AM 25 Dec 2020 NZDT
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Kiara Davies, harness racing
Another hospital stay, but Kiara was positive the whole way through

West Australian harness racing trainer and driver Kiara Davies still clearly remembers the day her world came crashing down.

Bubbly, energetic and full of life, the horsewoman had just celebrated her 30th birthday and was one month into her dream job.

"I was just chilling out at home back in March with my partner Michael Young when I found a lump in my breast. I don't know why but my gut instinct told me it was going to be bad news and most likely a tumour," Kiara said.

"I knew I had the BRCA1 mutation (which creates a much higher risk of some types of breast and ovarian cancers) so I saw a doctor the following day. An ultrasound referral showed the lump was not a cyst so I had a core biopsy the next day."

Kiara said she received an urgent call on March 27 to attend her doctor's clinic.

"I was told I had been diagnosed with breast cancer-and it was aggressive and growing quickly. Luckily, I found it when I did because I got told the 4cm tumour had doubled in size in the week before being diagnosed," she said.

"All I wanted to know was how do I beat it. I'm a fighter and just wanted to know how I went about dealing with it. The most difficult part was telling my partner and my family."

Kiara said the experience taught her never to take things for granted.

"It's been a huge eye opener. I had been employed one month earlier to work for Gary Hall snr and was thoroughly happy in a relationship I'd formed with my soul mate Michael," she said.

"But I'm pleased to say that I recently had my last surgery and got the all clear-so it onwards and upwards from here. Bring on 2021!

V for Victory. Kiara is looking forward to 2021

"I must admit that I've jumped into the jog cart a few times recently when I was feeling well. I hope to get back to training horses, but I'm pretty certain I won't ever drive in races again."

Kiara has been a trainer for more than eight years after deciding an accountancy career wasn't a fit for her. She showed exceptional ability as a driver and sits just six short of a significant milestone of 150 winners.

"One of my favorite wins was on Sunnys Little Whiz in the G1 Trotters Cup four years ago at Gloucester Park. She was raced by the Howlett family and won 16 races over here," she said.

Kiara with her favorite horse, Sunnys Little Whiz. The pair took out the Group One Trotters Cup in Perth in 2016 (Hamilton Content Creators Photo)

"I've probably been to about 10 meetings this year. It's been great to shift the focus away from all my hospital visits and treatment and watch the horses again. It's something different to think about."

Kiara said her breast cancer treatment involved two lots of surgery, 12 rounds of chemo, three blood transfusions and "so many blood tests I've lost count".

"I was so lucky to be under Professor Arlene Chan and Dr Peter Willsher. They were awesome along with my support crew including my mum, dad and sister; my partner Michael, Gary Snr and Karen Hall and best friends Kristy and Tara.

"The harness racing industry also showed it's a supportive big family by rallying around me right along the way."

Kiara said she was still exhausted and often experienced excruciating pain in her bones.

"But it has all been worth it. I finished my chemo at the end of August. Obviously, I've still got appointments along the way and MRI scans every few months, but I stayed positive from day one," she said.

"My advice to anyone in a similar situation would be listen to your doctors, don't hesitate to ask for help and surround yourself with loved ones."

And for 2021?

"Don't dwell on things because life is too short!"

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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