This July we are celebrating the contributions of a VIP group of supporters known as Partners in the Cure. These Australians have made a long-term commitment to cancer research by making monthly donations to the ACRF, and we are so grateful for their support.
One Partner in the Cure and regular giver, Sharyn Hillas has also generously shared her story with us. Please take a moment to read about Sharyn, and her son’s brave fight against cancer:
“My son, Robert was diagnosed with a primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma in September 2011, but his battle began many months before that.
“He was having trouble with his eyesight and memory, and struggling with depression and severe headaches. He lost his job because of his short term memory problems.
“A trip to the ophthalmologist led to an MRI which indicated Rob had a tumour on his brain. He then saw a neurologist who admitted him immediately to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for further testing. It was almost two weeks before a final diagnosis was made.
“Without treatment he was told he would only have weeks to live but his surgeon was reluctant to operate, given the position of the tumour. I can’t begin to describe how I felt – I cried myself to sleep for many nights. It was devastating to watch a previously fit, healthy young man of 30, deteriorating before our eyes. The tumour had already affected his right eye and his mobility. To a stranger he almost appeared to be drunk. He looked as though he had had a stroke.
“The day of the surgery was the longest day of my life.
“Rob was given a very good chance of recovery. The biggest things in his favour were his age and fitness. But nothing really prepares you for the heartache of watching your child battle such an insidious disease.
“He had seven months of treatment, six rounds of chemotherapy, 13 days of radiation, then another two rounds of chemotherapy. And yet throughout all of this, he rarely complained. He was so grateful to all the hospital staff, and always felt that other people had it worse than him.
“Rob is now in remission, and we are all so grateful that he has been given a second chance. He still struggles with his memory and is unable to return to work or his beloved martial arts. But now that the treatment is over he is working to get his life back together.
“One question stays with him though – he wants to know what might have caused this tumour? No-one can answer this question.
“The hospital provided us with very basic booklets on lymphomas, but none of them directly related to Rob’s condition. I turned to the internet to try and find as much information as I could in order to understand the disease and how best we could help him. It was during this research that I came across the Australian Cancer Research Foundation website.
“There are many good organisations out there doing wonderful things for cancer patients. But for me, I adhere to the saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If we can find some of the causes of cancer we will be in a better position to prevent it. That is why I have become a Partner in the Cure by making regular donations to the ACRF.”
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