“Your son Maxx has leukaemia,” the doctor told me.
I’d never heard this word before in my life. Leukaemia? What did that mean? I only had one question: how can we fix it? I assumed he would need some pills – but the reality was so much worse.
It was only when the doctor said “cancer” that it started to sink in. My son was seriously ill. He would need months of treatment and a transplant to save his life. There was no hospital in Tasmania that could provide the complex care he needed. If Maxx was to survive, we would have to travel over 400 kilometers to get to Melbourne.
I was confronted with an impossible choice. To save Maxx’s life we would have to leave our jobs, our home, our pets – our whole lives
– and find somewhere to live in Melbourne for at least six months. I simply didn’t know how we could afford it. I couldn’t leave Maxx to go through this alone. But if I went with him, would we have a home to come back to?
Of course, the truth is this impossible choice was no choice at all. I’m a mum, after all. I’d do whatever it took to be with Maxx through his cancer treatment – even if it meant selling our house. We’d muddle through. But I can’t pretend it wasn’t a terrifying prospect.
Thanks to supporters like you, this impossible choice was taken out of my hands. Fight Cancer Foundation’s accommodation centre gave me and Maxx safe and stable accommodation throughout his treatment – and a home to return to when he was better.
To put it simply without the generosity of supporters like you, Maxx and I would have had nowhere to live in Melbourne and no home to return to after his treatment. Your support not only gave us a home away from home during those difficult six months, your kindness also meant I could focus all my energy on caring for Maxx. This was a fight against cancer – not a fight against debt.
It’s amazing how immediately we felt at home in our apartment. It was right next to the hospital so Maxx and I never had far to go for his treatment. When he had to stay overnight on the ward, it was such a comfort to know I was always close by.
Thanks to your support, everything was provided for us. The apartment was stocked with towels and bedding, cutlery and crockery, there was a barbecue on the balcony, and we had a bathroom each. I didn’t have to worry about anything.
Without the support of people like you, our story could have been very different.
We could have been stuck in a lonely hotel room or rented flat – worrying about money, worrying about being apart, worrying about
having no home to go back to. Having a child with cancer is the most stressful and difficult thing in the world. It’s unimaginable to think that, on top of the fear and upset of his diagnosis and treatment, we would have been facing debt and homelessness too.
Your kindness meant we could focus on Maxx getting better instead – it meant I could focus on family, not finance. Will you take that weight off other families’ shoulders and donate today?
It wasn’t just the apartment itself. Fight Cancer Foundation provided apartments to other families in the block – families going through cancer treatment just like we were. Having people around me who understood what Maxx and I were going through meant I never felt alone.
We became a real community. There was a playroom for the kids and a games room too. Together we celebrated the little wins and offered a shoulder to cry on during the hardest days.
One of the hardest days for Maxx and I was when he lost his hair.
Maxx had been determined his hair wouldn’t fall out. He said to me, “mum, I don’t want to look like a sick person”. But sadly, cancer doesn’t care about what you want. It doesn’t care about your feelings.
I offered to shave my hair off in solidarity with my son. He wouldn’t let me. He said he didn’t want me to look sick too. Seeing Maxx lose his hair was very difficult. But with the support of the families in our apartment block, we didn’t have to face that terrible hurdle alone. That’s all thanks to supporters like you.
Today Maxx is in remission and we are back home in Tasmania. Your support meant I never had to make that impossible choice – I could be with my son during his treatment and still have a house to come home to.
Cancer really is the toughest fight. And no one should have to face that fight with the fear that they simply can’t afford to support their child. Your gift today will mean families facing cancer never have to make an impossible choice between losing everything, and being apart from their loved ones.
Thank you for reading my story today. I really hope it inspires you to send in a donation to help other families facing cancer. Your gift will help provide a family like mine with a place to stay, so they can be together through the toughest fight of their lives.
- Karyn, Maxx’s mum
An Update on Maxx
"Today Maxx is in remission and is determined to live life to the full. We have been through a lot together but I know our cancer journey would
have been a lot harder without the kindness of Fight Cancer Foundation supporters like you."