More pictures: Australia's Biggest Morning Tea in Bendigo

MANDY Edwards remembers the day she was diagnosed with leukemia.

It was a Monday and she was seven.

Her mother took her from their home at Mitiamo to Boort for blood tests and by the afternoon they were at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

"I remember lying in bed, having needles in my arms all the time and not being able to move."

She missed a lot of primary school, got bullied for having no hair and tried wearing wigs, which she hated.

On her 18th birthday she was finally told she was cured.

"After 35 blood transfusions and chemotherapy, here I am today," she said.

Ms Edwards said doctors' knowledge about leukaemia was limited back then.

"They never thought I was going to be able to have children," she said. 

But the presence of her three children Charlie, Archie and Lola running around their Strathfieldsaye shop confirms doctors were wrong.

Yesterday, Ms Edwards and husband Greg helped raise money and awareness of cancer by hosting one of Bendigo's events for Australia's Biggest Morning Tea.

The national annual event is about raising money and awareness and showing support for cancer sufferers.

The Edwards were thrilled with the turn-out at their store, Edwards Green Grocer and Deli, estimating they served more than 200 hot drinks.

Ms Edwards said the statistics of those who would be affected by cancer in their lifetime was now one in two.

"Getting cancer is like getting a cold nowadays - it's as common as that."

Her father and father-in-law both have prostate cancer, her niece had leukaemia and her young friend has breast cancer.

"You get a different outlook on life and how important family is." 

She said being ill as a child helped her empathise with child sufferers.

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