Light way

Lantern walk for leukaemia work

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Poulsen

Two friends with first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the up­heaval and dev­as­ta­tion caused by leukaemia are urg­ing the com­mu­nity to get be­hind a fundrais­ing event in Ger­ald­ton on Fri­day.

Light the Night is an an­nual evening lantern walk held across Aus­tralia to raise money and aware­ness for the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion.

Nikki Robb, 56, be­came in­volved with or­gan­is­ing the event af­ter her hus­band, Glenn, died fol­low­ing a nine-month strug­gle with the blood dis­ease in 2013.

She will be joined this year by Linda Ma­son, 34, and her two sons, Reece, 5, and Ethan, 8, who was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia when he was two.

His di­ag­no­sis, in De­cem­ber 2012, came at a par­tic­u­larly in­op­por­tune time.

Mrs Ma­son was heav­ily preg­nant with Reece, who was born six weeks later.

Soon af­ter that, her mother was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer.

The fam­ily were forced to up­root their lives in Ger­ald­ton while Ethan un­der­went chemo­ther­apy in Perth for the next nine months.

Af­ter that, he con­tin­ued to re­ceive chemo­ther­apy un­til Fe­bru­ary 2016, and still un­der­goes oc­ca­sional check-ups and ap­point­ments.

Both women said they wanted to give back to the char­ity for pro­vid­ing sup­port while their loved ones re­ceived treat­ment.

“The Leukaemia Foun­da­tion has helped from the mo­ment Ethan was di­ag­nosed, of­fer­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, sup­port, lifts from the air­port to the hos­pi­tal — things like that,” Mrs Ma­son said.

“We need to raise money to help, be­cause un­for­tu­nately there’s go­ing to be many fam­i­lies that have to go through what we have.

“I also want to raise aware­ness of the fact that leukaemia ac­tu­ally af­fects kids, not just adults.” Mrs Robb’s hus­band was just 48 when he died, leav­ing be­hind four grown-up chil­dren.

She said the ac­com­mo­da­tion pro­vided by the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion was vi­tal for peo­ple liv­ing in re­gional ar­eas.

“Most of the treat­ment is done in Perth — you can’t have it done up here,” she said.

“We spent nearly the whole nine months in Perth in their ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“If it wasn’t for them, I would have had to come back up here, be­cause try­ing to pay for ac­com­mo­da­tion as well as run­ning a house up here, fi­nan­cially, we couldn’t have done it.

“We were able to do his chemo treat­ment and plan at home in the units. They had the can­cer nurses come around ev­ery day, so he wasn’t al­ways in the hos­pi­tal.”

Light the Night will be held at the fore­shore, next to Dome, at 6pm on Fri­day.

Visit light­thenight.org.au/ events/Ger­ald­ton to reg­is­ter.

Pic­ture: Adam Poulsen

Linda Ma­son and Nikki Robb will at­tend the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion's Light The Night walk on Fri­day with Mrs Ma­son's sons Reece, 5, and Ethan, 8, who was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia aged 2.

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