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What doesn't kill us makes us stronger

Stacey-Lee, 28, a part-time nurse, has been diagnosed with cancer three times.

She was diagnosed with leukaemia for the first time when she was 3 years old, and then relapsed when she was 7 years old.   

Stacey only remembers “snapshots” of her treatment when she was young.

“I don't know if it's a mental block, like a bit of PTSD, but I don't remember much. It’s more the bad things I remember,” she said.

Stacey vividly remembers one memory when she had a Hickman line, a central venous catheter most often used for the administration of chemotherapy.

“The line was in through the neck and then it came out through the chest area. It went in through the veins so then the nurses could give me chemo treatment,” she added.

“I recall Mum saying I got sepsis or staff from it, so it had to be removed.”

Stacey said that when the doctor removed it all she can remember was screaming.

“I could feel it pull through my whole body,” Stacey remembered.

Her sister, Rachel, provided her with a bone marrow transplant which helped end her treatment for leukaemia.

Stacey is still living with the afteraffects of having childhood cancer.

“I was immunocompromised for most of my childhood, so I wasn't allowed to really get to associate with a lot of people. My brother, Aaron, was my closest friend at times.

“I received a chemotherapy burn down my right arm which I still have now. I was picked on a lot for it when I returned to school,” Stacey added.

Stacey said her childhood cancer has stopped her from having children of her own one day.

“I tried IVF which was unsuccessful. I don’t think I will ever be able to have children,” she added.

Stacey now works as an admissions nurse at Cabrini Hospital as she wanted to give back to something to the community.

“I think by just having all the treatment and just having the experience, I just decided I wanted to help people.

“Doing nursing is something that's very fulfilling,” she added.

In February, doctors found lumps on her thyroid which she said they think didn’t “look very good.”

“When I heard the news, I was just numb. I thought to myself it’s just something else that I have to go through,” Stacey added.

She will now have to have a full thyroidectomy to remove her whole thyroid in July.

Stacey has raised much-needed funds for Cancer Council Victoria’s prevention, support, and cancer research programs during Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

“I’m just hoping they can help find faster or better treatments for cancers for everyone,” Stacey added.

Stacey would like to provide the following advice for people living with cancer.

“On those really, really hard days when it feels like it’s never going to get better, and it’s never going to end, just tell yourself: that it’s not going to be like this forever.

“It will change, and it will get better. Life is hard. Just play the cards you’re dealt. Just keep moving forward,” Stacey continued.

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”


Thanks to the generosity of Cancer Council Victoria donors, all donations made between 8am and 8pm on August 31, 2023, will be doubled until we reach our goal of $500,000.

For all that cancer takes, give hope this Daffodil Day.

Daffodil Day is a chance for Australians to come together and, for all that cancer takes; give. We all have the ability to create change in the lives of people impacted by cancer. Whether you want to fundraise, donate or buy daffodils, you can use your talents to support Australians impacted by cancer, and pave the way to a brighter future for everyone.

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