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"My Journey"

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Hey Canteen Family:)

This is my first blog hope you like it....

It's great to be here, to be representing the membership of canteen and to tell my story from the past four yearsEverything was great at the start of 2010. I was ready to get back to school after the holidays and was really excited about an upcoming trip to New Zealand.

Who knew that over the next few months my life would be turned upside-downMy dad was lethargic, tired and just feeling run down.He powered on through work but as a family we had a feeling that something was wrong. Like a lot of men, dad claimed he was "allergic" to doctors but mum managed to convince him to go anyway - but that's another story. My dad reluctantly went to the doctor and did a blood test. That same day he was rushed to Dalby Hospital to receive blood urgently. It was the first time he had ever had a blood transfusion. I was scared and worried but I soldiered on for the rest of the week not knowing what exactly was going onTwo days later he was taken in an ambulance to the Toowoomba Hospital for more tests and while he was there he was given three more blood transfusions.Everyone thinks of cancer as something that happens to other people. The news of dad’s diagnosis was the worst thing imaginable for our family. Dad was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a cancer that affects the white and red blood cells. He was given a life expectancy of only 2 years.

Dad was going back and forward between Brisbane and Toowoomba for eight months for treatment. Not long afterwards, I moved to Brisbane before Dad was to start heavy chemotherapy for which he was in hospital for two months. Not knowing how long mum and I were going to be in Brisbane for we started to make plans for me to start year 11 there. I was enrolled at Macgregor State High. It was very daunting to go from Dalby High school, which had 800 students to a school with 1600 students! It was also hard leaving my friends and teachers behind who were supporting me through these tough times.

We stayed at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Clem Jones-Sunland patient accommodation village during this time. The time we spent at the village was very memorable. We met a lot of people that we will remember forever and the staff members were really supportive as we transitioned from Dalby to Brisbane. I also became a member of Canteen that year which helped me form a great support network.The day came that Dad was in remission. It was a great day. His stem cells had been fighting so the doctor suggested looking for a donor for a bone marrow transplant to try to save his life. It took a very long time to find a suitable donor for dad but finally they found one; it wasn't the best match, but it was his only option. Six months had past and it seemed like we had done the right thing for him to live but sadly in May 2012 he passed away.

This is the first instalment many to come:)

Thanks, Nev