Fight Like A Girl

Jiu Jitsu & Cancer

I mentioned my love for Jiu Jitsu in my last blog entry and I want to talk a little more about it now because training Jiu Jitsu has taught me many life lessons.

I have been training at The Jiu Jitsu Studio in Midland under owner and head instructor Lance Johnson for many years now at when I first started I had no idea that I would come to consider them like family and that Lance would quickly become a very dear friend to me.

And while I wish I could just arm bar or choke my cancer into submission that’s not really possible. Jiu Jitsu did however teach me to be more confident in standing up for and advocating for myself, to know your opponent, to breathe and to look at my problems from another angle.

These lessons came in very handy when dealing with well-meaning medical professionals who were very insistent about what my treatment should be rather that giving me all the appropriate information to weigh up my options and the risks and benefits associated with them.

Jiu Jitsu also kept me grounded and helped me focus when my head was spinning with all the information, what if’s and worst case scenarios running through my head.

I am very blessed to have had a good support network throughout my cancer journey of family and friends and my Jiu Jitsu family are a very big part of that support network and still are as I attempt to transition back into a my new normal life.

Why Fight Like a Girl

I called my team “Fight Like A Girl” for a couple of reasons, firstly anyone who knows me knows how much I love my Jiu Jitsu and secondly because the cancer I was diagnosed with was at the very core of what makes me a girl….my uterus.

While I was considered one of the lucky ones when it came to my cancer, I still had to fight like hard to get through it. I had to fight through the fear every single day, the fear of what this cancer meant for me and my dream of having children, I had to fight the medical profession right from the start because their instinct told them to cut it out without even trying to save my uterus and some days…well some days I had to fight just to keep going because I just didn’t have the energy or because my heart and soul were so heavy I just didn’t know how I would get through this.

And then there is the fact that some people just didn’t understand what I was going through, or just how sick I really was because most of the time I didn’t look like I had cancer, didn’t fit the typical cancer mold or I wasn’t handle my cancer the way they thought I should.

Cancer is hard, no matter the type or stage you have, not matter how well you seem to be doing or how healthy you look at any point….cancer is something that takes every ounce of your being just to get up and keep moving forward, to keep fighting for yourself and your loved ones.

And cancer is something that I have found is very hard to verbalise, I am only just starting to talk about mine more openly now that I am on the other side of the fight and to be honest, even though I am doing it for a great cause…it’s still not easy to talk about.

Hopefully by sharing my experiences, raising awareness and much need funds we can make a difference.

Shelly xx

We're participating to raise awareness of endometrial and uterine cancer

In December 2018 I heard those words that no one wants to hear…”We found cancer”.

Those were words I was not prepared to hear, especially when the cancer they were talking about was in the endometrial lining of my uterus…I had always wanted to have children and experience pregnancy so those words were a double blow to me.

After 12 months trying to beat cancer conservatively using fertility sparing treatments, the cancer persisted and it was strongly advised for me to have a total hysterectomy to remove the cancer and avoid any further risk of it spreading.

On 20th January 2020 I underwent a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo–Oophorectomy and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy this meant they removed my Uterus, Ovaries, Fallopian Tubes, Cervix and some Lymph Nodes.

Turns out I am one of the lucky ones, my cancer was stage 1a meaning it was still contained to my uterus and hadn’t spread elsewhere, and while I am still coming to terms with the fact I will never be able to get pregnant or have children of my own, I am still here and I was lucky enough not to need further more aggressive treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.

So in May 2020, I am challenging myself to walk 35km in one day as part of the Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer. I’m doing this to raise awareness for Endometrial and Uterine Cancers and much needed funds for women’s cancer research right here in WA at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

There is so much more to be done to ensure that the women of WA – our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and loved ones – living with cancer stay with us for as long as possible. I am training and fundraising in the lead up to the event. I'd be so grateful for your support. If you can't join me (I'd love the company), please give generously to my donation page.

Please help me to help the Perkins.

Let’s walk towards a cancer-free future – together.

Shelly xx

Thank you to our Sponsors


Alex Robeson

Great work Shelly


Shelly Clarke


Friend Referral


Shelly Clarke


Grace Allen


Shelly Clarke