Shelley's Story

Meet Shelley, fitness fanatic, cancer survivor and passionate cancer research advocate

Meet Shelley

At 29 years old, Shelley Bishop was down 45kg and in the best shape of her life—guiding her 60,000-strong Shred with Shelley social media community on how to do the same. 

At 30, she’d had a tumour above her collarbone removed and was enduring her fourth round of chemotherapy, after donating her long, thick, dark hair to a children’s charity. 

“Cancer takes all sense of control away from you, so instead of waking up and feeling my hair fall out and crying and being really emotional, I just got in and did it,” Shelley said. 

“And it was quite shocking visibly for me to just be completely bald, but that’s the day I really took control back in a way, and it turned out to be one of the greatest days of my life. 

“Plus, somewhere in the world there’s a six-year-old with Leukaemia wearing my hair right now!” 

The dramatic weight loss is likely to have saved the musician’s life—revealing a lump above her collarbone she may never have found otherwise.  

Posting a before and after shot to Reddit during lockdown kicked off Shred with Shelley. What started as an opportunity to keep herself accountable soon grew to a community of followers, who would soon become some of her greatest cheerleaders for the journey that lay ahead. 

“I was used to maintaining my weight, and knowing what my body did and how it reacted to workouts. But I just started feeling like I’d been unplugged. Like the batteries were drained."

Shelley’s GP wasn’t concerned about the lump above her collarbone. An ultrasound revealed nothing. Two months later after it had grown further, a needle biopsy came back inconclusive. Eventually the lump was causing so much discomfort that Shelley was scheduled to have it surgically removed. 

Ten hours later, she found out she had Hodgkin Lymphoma—a blood cancer her friend and musical colleague, singer Delta Goodrem, had been diagnosed with at just 18 years’ old. 

“She told me that you can’t be good every day. You can’t try and be a hero every day, which is what I was always trying to do. It’s one day, one hour, one minute at a time… I’m so grateful for that advice,” she said.  

The five-year survival rate of Hodgkin Lymphoma is very high, at around 85 per cent, however it also comes with a high rate of relapse, so Shelley opted to go with a round of radiation following her final chemotherapy treatment. But the side effects were debilitating.  

While Shelley feels like she’s slowly returning to her former self physically, her life after cancer is very different. 

“Living in the fast-paced lifestyle I was in, I just thought I was invincible, but no one gets an easy way out of this. Cancer is terrible, there’s nothing good about this journey, and you’re never going to be the same person you were before. 

“I was so disciplined with my fitness and nutrition to the point where it was my whole life. But now I'm just so much more relaxed as a person, and I’m just working to find the balance,” she said. 

Shelley is returning in 2024 to participate in Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle for Cancer to support cancer research, as passionate event day MC and 40k ride participant! 

Shelley remembers last year’s ride as “day that I'll remember forever.” 

“I felt overwhelmed with emotion crossing the finish line, as I didn't think I'd have the physical or mental strength to ride that distance after the cancer treatment I'd undergone. It was a huge moment for me, and by completing the challenge I proved to myself that I could do anything!” 

This is a sentiment that Shelley wants to use to inspire others on event day—you’ll see Shelley on the ground on event day, sharing stories of riders and their loved ones and giving participants the opportunity to express what B2GC means to them. 

To Shelley, it’s more than just a ride.

“Having gone through cancer treatment myself, I know firsthand how much medical advancements, access to medicines and high-quality facilities make an enormous difference to someone battling cancer. Riding the B2GC is such a rewarding and fun way to give back to the research community, and it gave me a sense of purpose in my life after treatment.” 

Will you donate and help support people like Shelley?