It was Easter last year when Brigitte’s life changed forever.
“We went up to the Grampians and I couldn’t stand the pressure in my head,” she says. “I also had a lump under my neck.”
It took a visit to the GP and an ear, nose and throat specialist for Brigitte to be told the devastating news - she had rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare cancer that develops in skeletal muscle cells.
Brigitte endured intense chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation. For months, she was fed through a nasal gastric tube. “I got so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed,” she shares. “My husband took five weeks off work and my children pitched in to help – even my five-year-old would feed me through the tube.”
Still there was one thing that helped Brigitte through – her dream to own a farm and fill it with animals – even a donkey!
“We always thought we’d find ten acres and have animals and horses,” she said. “Then it hit me. I’m never going to have a farm, I’m never going to have a donkey.
“My husband started taking me to them to make me feel better. He’d say ‘when you’re better, this is what we’re going to get.”
And that’s exactly what they did. Despite a gruelling year, somehow everything fell into place. “A man knocked on our door and wanted to buy the house. Then we found the perfect farm. We now have 50 animals.”
Brigitte also finally got her wish for a donkey. “Taco is like the light at the end of the tunnel. It was absolutely meant to be.”
Brigitte’s now in remission – and she couldn’t be more grateful for all the support that she had. This year she decided to give back by hosting an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.
What was initially going to be a couple of girlfriends in her living room, ended up growing into an event with over 100 people – with Taco as the star guest. “Everyone was so honoured to be part of it. Had I known it was this easy, I would have done it before!”
Brigitte’s now raised $14,325. “I just want cancer to not be there. By supporting Cancer Council and cancer research, who knows how many others we may be able to help?”