Sharmaine (left), pictured with her dad, mum and sister.
Cancer affects all of us – it doesn’t discriminate. Ever since I was young, I’ve always known someone who’s had cancer. There was my aunty, family friends and other friends as well.
However cancer never hit so close to home until I was about 15. I was told my granddad had prostate cancer. He was just in his late 70s when he passed away.
Then in 2011, just before my 21 st birthday, we found out that my dad had kidney cancer. His tumour weighed four and a half kilos and was 16 inches long.
Dad needed surgery to remove it. He ended up with a scar across his stomach that almost touched the centre of his back.
Unfortunately the surgery couldn’t remove all the cancer; there were still five spots on dad’s lymph nodes. By 2015, it had started to spread throughout his torso and he had to be put on an oral chemotherapy.
The oral chemotherapy caused him to lose 20 kilos in two months, so the doctors decided to switch him to an IV chemotherapy. This was good as it helped him regain his appetite and motor skills. Dad was really happy as it allowed him to do things independently.
Still, our family was very aware that he constantly needed our support. One day whilst visiting a friend, he fell and ended up hurting his back, causing the cancer to shoot through his spine and spread to over 25 to 30 spots in his brain.
His vision started to deteriorate, and he needed radiation treatment. It was then that we were told that he had just two to three months left. We had no choice but to come to terms with it.
Dad spent the next month and a half in hospital with us by his side. Sadly on the 16 th of November 2016, he took his last breath.
There are no words to describe the heart wrenching feeling that you endure when you lose a loved one you’ve shared an irreplaceable bond with. You never “move on”, or “move past it”; time doesn’t heal all wounds.
That’s why I decided that this year I was going to take part in Run Melbourne, and raise money for Cancer Council Victoria. I wanted to help and play a part in something bigger than myself and bigger than all of us.
Like I said before, cancer doesn’t discriminate. I want to help raise awareness and funds to honour my dad, my grandad, and everyone else who has been taken too soon. I also want to support those diagnosed, and celebrate those who have survived.
I have a motto – “Be good. Make good choices!” This is my opportunity to make a difference, and support something that means so much to me and so many others.
I hope that I can achieve a change that results in a better quality of life, as well as a longer life for those with cancer. I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me, not just with donations, but with words of encouragement and pure love. I am truly blessed and grateful – every little bit counts!
Cancer Council Victoria would like to extend a sincere thank you to Sharmaine for her fundraising efforts – already she’s raised over $2,000 for cancer research, prevention and support. This money will make an incredible difference to the 90 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each day.
If you’re like Sharmaine and are keen to run for a cancer free future this July, join Team Cancer Council Victoria today.