The HeadsUp Team


Sue Owen: Founder & Co-ordinator

In 2005, throughout my hair loss phase, I had huge difficulty sourcing hats that reflected my taste and personality, and found the lack of suitable outlets to be challenging. Luckily I was used to tying scarves, as I was a girl of the 70‘s (where it was fashionable to wear headscarves) and was often asked to assist other ladies to embellish their turbans or tie scarves during our chemotherapy days.

I began to discuss the need for a speciality service with the Zita Mary Oncology nurses, as well as the Breast Care Nurses in Calvary Hospital.  It also seemed there was a need for “one-stop-shop” for those within the large hospital as well as ladies on the north side of Canberra and in our rural areas.

There was definitely a need to help ladies “funk up” and style their hats in a variety of ways to make the process more cost effective as well as uplifting to see how attractive they can make their appearance during this difficult time. I have also wanted to provide interesting embellishments that make styling the headwear a much easier process, including attractive earrings, that add to the overall effect.

Marilyn Brookes

I have a wonderful husband, two grown-up daughters and three grandchildren, and have a Dalmatian called Kiri and an RSPCA refugee cat called Rose.

In June 2005 a routine mammogram at Breast Screen detected a suspicious tissue change which was confirmed as breast cancer.  Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed, which wasn’t quite what I had planned for my retirement!  It took a while and lots of support and encouragement before I felt that I was both physically and emotionally back on track, but finally I decided to volunteer to support others who were undertaking the same journey.  As well as a support service, Bosom Buddies provides a community education breast awareness program to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer and to inform people in the ACT and region of the support that is available for those diagnosed, their friends and families.  Initially I undertook training and gave breast awareness presentations to many and varied groups in the community.  I then became coordinator of the breast awareness program.

When Sue Owen had the idea for HeadsUp, I felt it was just the sort of service that was very much needed to provide great-looking and stylish headwear at a time when women really can do with a big confidence boost.  Bosom Buddies and HeadsUp have very similar aims – primarily to care for the person diagnosed and make their journey a little easier and less lonely.

I must say that I believe that the rewards from volunteering with both these groups are immense – it feels as though I get as much or more from providing these services as the people who come to find support.  I have met many wonderful people, both those who are volunteers and those who have sought us out.

Kerry Stewart  

Married to Ian with 2 grown up children who have give us 6 precious grandchildren.

22 years ago my brother was diagnosed with leukemia.  Seeing his journey with cancer and the way it affected all our family I in some way wanted to do something.  I was working in Grace Bros, in the cosmetic department, when a group of ladies from a program in Sydney called “Look Good...Feel Better” were recruiting women in the beauty industry in Canberra to start a program in the ACT. Their program is to help cancer patients deal with the visual side effects of of their treatment. This was something I could do.

I have now been a volunteer with Look Good...Feel Better for 17 years, and have been the ACT Co-ordinator for 10 years.  It is a program I have great passion for and over the years the wonderful, beautiful, strong and courageous women I have met are truly an inspiration. When I met Sue and she told me about HeadsUp and I thought that this is another way I can help and our two services work well together.

PS My brother had a stem cell transplant nearly 10 years ago and is doing very well!

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