New mum faces cancer battle
Becoming a mum and being diagnosed with cancer are two major life-changing moments — and 20-year-old Roberta Taylor is simultaneously tackling both.
Last month, at 35 weeks pregnant, the Kalgoorlie woman received the devastating news a lump behind her nose was cancerous and had spread to her glands.
Facing multiple trips to Perth for treatment, expensive medical bills and weeks of accommodation, Roberta started a GoFundMe campaign to lessen the financial burden on her and partner Tai Brown.
About a week later, Roberta was induced for labour and baby William Brown was born.
With her baby safe and healthy, doctors could finally run all the tests needed to determine the best treatment plan for Roberta.
Instead of going home and enjoying all the crying, laughing and dirty nappies that come with being a new mother, she had a second obstacle to overcome — radiation and chemotherapy.
“All I wanted to do was be a mum,” Roberta said.
“It was really overwhelming, everything was just kind of flowing by me.
“It feels like my life has just been taken from under my feet and I fell, and now I just have to climb back up to the top.”
Since William was born, the young family have spent no more than a few days at home and the rest of the time in Perth.
“We were only there for three or four days but he was home,” Roberta said.
“He got to lay in his cot and we got to enjoy that feeling where you’re in that little space and you’re a mum.”
Roberta is now in week two of her seven-week radiation treatment course and has had her mother and baby William by her side every day.
“I know there are a lot of side effects to the treatment and it is starting to hit me a bit now,” she said.
“Today is the first day where I can feel my tongue is swollen and I am getting ulcers in my mouth and my throat is a bit sore.
“Plus, being a new mum, my hormones are all over the place and I still have baby brain, and then you get the emotional and physical effects of this cancer and the treatment.”
Last weekend, Roberta’s doctor, Joanna Keen, helped co-ordinate a fundraising high tea and silent auction in support of the family, which raised about $3000.
Dr Keen said about 60 people attended the event to show their support for the family.
“Roberta is quite young, so a few of us decided to see what we could to do help, but I never expected it to get as big as it did,” she said.
Combined with the $4000 donated to the GoFundMe campaign, the community has helped donate $7000 towards medical bills, transport and accommodation.
Roberta said she was over- whelmed by the support.
“I never thought this would be happening, ever, and for it to happen and to have so much support and people by my side, it really shows how much life really does mean to you,” she said.
“I just stay positive and keep smiling every day and fight through it.
“I have my moments where I break down and I get very emotional, but I have William, so I know I am here for a reason.”
At the end of her first treatment course, Roberta will enjoy a three-week break before heading back to Perth for a nine-week chemotherapy and radiation course.
To donate towards Roberta’s cause, visit www.gofundme.com.au and search for “Roberta Causer Taylor”.
Tai Brown and Roberta Taylor with baby William Brown.