"It was good to get away"

Friday 19 July, 2019

Amongst the chaos of Mark’s bowel cancer diagnosis, his wife Georgina reached out to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 cancer nurses and discovered a short holiday break was just what they needed.

The Bendigo couple were able to take some time out thanks to generous Victorians, who have donated 79 properties throughout the state to Cancer Council’s Holiday Break Program for cancer patients and their families.

“We were told about some of the services during hospital visits, and then I did a bit of research online, and that’s how I found out about the short breaks away,” said Georgina.

“It was near the beach at Inverloch and the weather was beautiful – it was good to get away and not have to worry about everyday life for a few days.

“We have four kids, so it was also nice being all together as a family,” she said.

Georgina and Mark felt it was a great opportunity to spend some much-needed time with their kids ­– two of them now adults – and have some time away from Mark’s intensive treatment schedule, free of charge.

A scenic shot of the beach at Inverloch taken by Georgia.

Mark, who is now recovering from treatment, is grateful he received the bowel cancer screening kit on his 50th birthday – and for his persistent wife.

“If he hadn’t had that test sent to him in the mail, he would never have gone to the doctor, and he would have kept saying “I’ll do it one day”,” said Georgina.

She hopes others will take their health seriously, especially when given the tools they need to do so are delivered right to their home.

“If you have a bowel kit, do it. It doesn’t take long, and it can potentially save your life. Men are not invincible – they think they are, but they’re not,” Georgina said.

Mark received the kit in August 2018, but didn’t do the test right away.

“In October he got around to doing it, just because I kept telling him that it was important,” explained Georgina.

The diagnosis was late-stage bowel cancer. Mark had experienced no warning signs.

Mark pictured with his three sons during their weekend away.

The couple’s life was then turned upside down, as they had to make many adjustments to ensure Mark could get the treatment and care he needed.

“Mark was always the bread-winner and did a lot around the house, so I’ve had to learn different things; it’s been very hard,” said Georgina.

Although Georgina first contacted Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to learn about the free holiday break program, she ended up chatting with the cancer nurses about a range of things.

“I actually called to talk about the opportunity of a break away, but ended up talking to the nurse for about an hour.

“We talked about what had gone on with Mark, and she ended up ringing me back a couple of times just to touch base and make sure things were okay, which she didn’t have to do,” said Georgina.

Georgina urges anyone who has been impacted by cancer – whether directly or coping with the diagnosis of a loved one – to reach out to the cancer nurses.

“I think with any support you need – ring Cancer Council for advice or just to talk. I’ve talked to a couple of ladies and they’ve been very supportive of me.”

“They were there, ready to listen and give me advice,” said Georgina.

Winter escape

 

Winter is the perfect time for cosy nights in by the fire, watching a movie on the couch and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

Thanks to generous Victorians that donate their properties to our Holiday Break Program, we have 79 holiday destinations available across the state for cancer patients to take time away with loved ones, away from medical appointments and treatment schedules.

Call 13 11 20 to talk to a cancer nurse, they will discuss the guidelines and process for booking a holiday break.