Christ­mas spent away from home

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

As the fes­tive sea­son comes at us at a rate of knots it is a time to be at home sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily.

For the Vig­gor fam­ily from Yar­ra­wonga, they will be spend­ing their Christ­mas day in hospi­tal at St Vin­cents in Mel­bourne.

Young father Michael Vig­gor was re­cently di­ag­nosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia, re­quir­ing him to be away from home and many fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the Christ­mas hol­i­day pe­riod while he re­ceives treat­ment in Mel­bourne.

Michael’s part­ner Jess Milne and two-yearold son Ma­son are by his side and will spend the fes­tive pe­riod with him in Mel­bourne and un­der­stand­ably they have said it will be tough to be away from home but as long as they are to­gether that is all that mat­ters.

“Find­ing out that we will be spend­ing Christ­mas in hospi­tal was a bit of a shock to ev­ery­one,” Jess said.

“But we will all be to­gether for it and that’s what mat­ters to us.

“We will just have to have a big Christ­mas when we get to come home be­fore his next lot of treat­ment.”

Michael’s di­ag­no­sis was dis­cov­ered af­ter he had been un­well for a few weeks with a sore throat and headaches.

Af­ter mul­ti­ple doc­tor’s ap­point­ments and be­ing put on an­tibi­otics and steroids, he got to the point where even af­ter 12 hours of sleep he couldn’t stay awake.

The doc­tor then de­cided to do a blood test to make sure what he was feel­ing wasn’t a virus that he couldn’t get rid of.

On Thurs­day, Novem­ber 23, only a mat­ter of days since hav­ing the blood test Michael and part­ner Jess Milne got a phone call to re­turn to the doc­tors to re­ceive the re­sults.

Upon ar­riv­ing at the doc­tors, they were taken into the nurse’s room where the doc­tor then walked in and told Michael “Your blood test has come back and it’s not good. You have leukaemia and you are be­ing air­lifted to Mel­bourne tonight.”

Within the next two hours Michael was taken by am­bu­lance to Al­bury be­fore be­ing flown to St Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal in Mel­bourne.

“That was one of the hard­est nights as we had no idea what was hap­pen­ing, how se­ri­ous it was and then try­ing to ex­plain to our twoyear-old son Ma­son why his dad was be­ing taken away and why he couldn’t go with him was heart break­ing,” said part­ner Jess.

“No-one got a good sleep that night, but the next morn­ing Ma­son and I left Yar­ra­wonga and went straight down to St Vin­cent’s hospi­tal where we have been ever since, right by Michael’s side.”

Al­though al­ready be­ing told he had leukemia Michael then had to have a bone mar­row biopsy in Mel­bourne where they di­ag­nosed acute myeloid leukaemia.

Within four days of be­ing told by his doc­tor in Yar­ra­wonga that his sore throat and headaches were some­thing much worse, Michael was started on chemo­ther­apy. “Ev­ery­thing just went so quick,” Jess said. “He has had some re­ally bad days with his first lot of chemo, but he is still pos­i­tive and is still be­ing the char­ac­ter that he has al­ways been.

“Hope­fully we will get some good news when we get his next bone mar­row biopsy done.”

Some of the peo­ple who are right be­hind Michael in his fight are his em­ploy­ers and work­mates at Har­g­reaves Join­ery in Yar­ra­wonga.

Michael has worked at Har­g­reaves for more than 10 years and is a loyal and hard­work­ing staff mem­ber as well as friend.

Di­rec­tor of Har­g­reaves Join­ery Cath Har­g­reaves said he is one of the com­pany’s most hard-work­ing staff mem­bers and has be­come not only an em­ployee but a friend as well.

“Mick is gen­uinely one of the ‘good guys’,” Cath said.

“In busi­ness you see a lot of peo­ple come and go, your team evolves but there are al­ways a few rare peo­ple that come in to your busi­ness that you hope to keep for life, Mick for us is one.

“Over the 10 years he’s been with us he has proved him­self to be one of the most re­li­able hard-work­ing peo­ple we have.”

Cath said right from the be­gin­ning her and part­ner Nev knew they were on to a good thing hir­ing Michael and had a feel­ing he was go­ing to be a handy em­ployee for years to come.

“Mick came to us seek­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship, he’d come from work­ing in the abat­toirs but wanted to make a ca­reer for him­self and get a trade,” Cath said.

“He would have taken a se­vere pay cut to do so, that in it­self says a lot about him. It wasn’t long till we re­alised we’d hit the jack­pot with Mick.

“He was hard work­ing, had a great at­ti­tude, and ex­celled as a trades­man very quickly.”

One thing that Cath said has al­ways stood out about him in work and life is a trait that not ev­ery­body pos­sesses these days.

“He pos­sesses some­thing very rare, in­tegrity,” Cath said.

“He has it in his work, his com­mit­ment to us and the guys he works with.

“Not only is Mick a val­ued mem­ber of our team but he’s a friend and is al­ways ready with a smile, asks how you are and ac­tu­ally cares about your re­sponse.”

Upon hear­ing these com­ments you would not think it would be a sur­prise that so many peo­ple want to get be­hind Mick and his fam­ily but Jess said they never ex­pected the sup­port they have re­ceived and they are im­mensely grate­ful.

“We are tak­ing each day as it comes,” Jess said.

“We never ever ex­pected all the love and sup­port we have re­ceived since we let ev­ery­one know about Michael’s di­ag­no­sis.

“We hon­estly couldn’t thank ev­ery­one enough.”

This Fri­day, De­cem­ber 22 Har­g­reaves Join­ery will host an end of year BBQ be­tween 12pm and 2pm with all pro­ceeds do­nated to Mick and his fam­ily.

In an­other in­cen­tive to at­tend the BBQ lunch, Har­g­reaves ap­pren­tice Austin Frauen­felder has vowed to shave off his glo­ri­ous locks if the team can raise $1000.

Cather­ine said that if they were to reach the tar­get Har­g­reaves Join­ery would then match that with a fur­ther $1000.

Make sure to make your way to Har­g­reaves Join­ery at 2 O’Brien Road on Fri­day and en­joy time with fel­low com­mu­nity mem­bers as well as mak­ing a do­na­tion to a de­serv­ing fam­ily.

Michael and Ma­son en­joy­ing some father son time while in hospi­tal.

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