"I will never be that woman before the treatment again."
– Amanda, cervical cancer survivor.
When Amanda gave birth to her third child two years ago, it should have been the happiest day of her life.
But before she had even held her newborn son, the doctors told her they found a growth on her cervix.
Instead of the joy that a new baby brings, she and her family were left reeling with shock, and in desperate need of help and advice. With your support, vital cancer information and support services are available to families like Amanda’s.
Amanda and her husband Marcus with their newborn son, Frankie. This was the day that Amanda’s doctor found a growth on her cervix.
After four weeks of the unknown, Amanda and her husband went to the hospital to receive her biopsy results. The doctor had bad news – she did have cancer, and it was aggressive. All Amanda could think was that she wouldn’t see her babies grow up.
On the drive home from the hospital, her husband Marcus said, “It should have been me. The kids need you.”
After that, Amanda was thrown into a frenzy of intense treatment – including six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, all of which was hours away from their home in rural Victoria.
During this time, Amanda and her family stayed with her parents just outside of Melbourne. This meant Amanda could be close to the hospital and have her parents’ support in looking after her three young kids.
But once Amanda’s treatment was finished, her family returned home. Suddenly she was a full-time mum again while experiencing excruciating body pains as a result of treatment.
That was the first time Amanda called Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 information and support line and spoke to cancer nurse Molly – who gave her the advice she desperately needed.
Amanda’s treatment left her feeling so exhausted that she didn’t even have the energy to change Frankie’s nappy.
Funded entirely by generous people like you, Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 information and support line answered over 8,500 calls and emails last year from Victorians whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
The cancer nurses at 13 11 20 are trained to respond to a wide range of cancer-related calls and emails. These include questions relating to practical, emotional and financial concerns, and the nurses can also refer anyone impacted by cancer onto other services.
One of the vital services offered to families facing a cancer diagnosis is the chance to spend quality time together. The financial strain that often comes with a cancer diagnosis can make it difficult to afford a holiday at a time when it's needed most.
That’s why Cancer Council Victoria's Holiday Break Program can provide these families with a one-off short getaway at a donated property, to recharge, reconnect and get away from it all.
Amanda’s family had their first-ever holiday together by the beach.
The second time Amanda called 13 11 20, it had been a month since she finished treatment. The cancer nurse told her about the Holiday Break Program, and helped arrange a short break away for Amanda’s family.
“The holiday was so good for everyone – we all needed it,” said Amanda. “The kids absolutely loved the beach – we were just a couple of blocks away from it. It was the holiday of a lifetime.”
“We got that time together, and without the Cancer Council – without that hotline – we couldn’t have done it.”
This Autumn, will you please give to vital cancer information and support services so families like Amanda’s don’t have to face the stress, fear and financial burden of cancer alone?