It’s Sunday, and hubby and I have driven down to Tweed Heads to visit our old friends Katrina and Seth. The winter sun is shining and as we pick at the platter of cheese and deli meats, we reminisce about the wild and carefree years we spent working at the Walkabout bars in the UK, back in our early 20’s. It seems like yesterday, and at the same time, a lifetime ago. Somehow 20 years has passed in a flash, and here we are in our forties, married, with mortgages, and our own little families to raise. Along the way we’ve swapped the late night shenanigans and Sambuca shots, with late night feeds and nappy changing!
As Seth leaves the table to get their 2 year-old Indi from her afternoon nap, Katrina looks across at 6 year old Ayla who is happily playing dolls on a picnic blanket with my daughter. Even before she says anything, I can see from the expression that passes over her face what she is thinking.
“She hates it if I so much as go to the mailbox without her,” Kat says. “I have to lie with her every night. She can’t sleep otherwise. I need to be here for my girls Jo. I can’t die!”
I fight back the urge to tell her she isn’t going to die, because who am I to promise that, regardless of how much I will it to be true. Instead, I manage to choke out the only reassurance I can give, and say “you’re going to fight this!” But, as they’ve recently discovered that fight also involves a significant financial cost that they do not have the means to cover on their own.
It’s now been about nine weeks since she received the crushing news that the cause of the headaches and vertigo she’d been experiencing was a Glioma tumour at the base of her brain. She recounted the terrifying experience to me that had prompted her to go to the Gold Coast hospital, and had ultimately set the ball rolling towards her diagnosis. Feeling unwell one day after picking up her girls, and thinking she was just exhausted from the usual stresses and strains of working and bringing up small children, she’d lost her balance getting out of the car at home. The confusion at what had happened quickly gave way to panic as she realised she couldn’t get back up. Fortunately, her husband Seth was home, and lying helpless on her driveway as her girls looked on from their car seats, unable to understand what was wrong with their mum, she was able to call out to him for help. But even as they drove to the hospital, they never imagined the turn their life was about to take.
By all accounts a Glioma brain tumour is a particularly challenging tumour to treat. Once it grows, it generally turns malignant and grows into the cells, making it difficult to remove. It’s a tricky one that only the best neuro-surgeon can operate on. Knowing this, last week Katrina and Seth travelled to Sydney for an appointment with renowned brain surgeon Charlie Teo.
The good news is that Charlie Teo is willing to do the risky, yet life-saving operation to remove the tumour from Katrina’s brain. But, he has advised them that it needs to be removed urgently, before it grows. The problem is that life-saving surgery is expensive. The cost of the operation alone is $100,000 and this doesn’t include the additional cost they’ll face for recovery and rehab in the weeks and months that follow.
It’s for this reason that Katrina’s friends are rallying to support her and raise much-needed funds via a GoFundMe page. The target of $130,000 is needed to help Katrina cover the cost of surgery, travel, recovery and rehab. Unfortunately, each week that passes, the risk of the tumour growing and being inoperable rises.
As Katrina’s friend Jenna Warne rightly points out on the GoFundMe page every little bit really does help.
‘If you can forgo the cost of a coffee today (around $4) we would be so grateful. If you can forgo coffees for a week ($28) or even a month ($120) we would be super grateful. Anything you can do to help will make a difference. Sharing Katrina’s heartbreaking story with your friends, and spreading her story far and wide, will help bring more people to rally around and make this life-saving surgery happen.’
If you aren’t in a financial position to donate money, you can show your support by sharing this with your family and friends. Thank you for being a valued member of the Mums Lounge community and showing this mum that there is hope for her and her beautiful family.