Fam­ily spurs mother’s can­cer bat­tle

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - JACK BAR­LOW

When Brooke Ma­lyon re­ceived her sec­ond can­cer di­ag­no­sis in Fe­bru­ary last year, she im­me­di­ately thought of her eight-weekold daugh­ter.

Char­lie’s birth had been a shin­ing light af­ter the dark­ness of her first can­cer bout. Now, with a di­ag­no­sis of stage four Hodgkin’s lym­phoma, it looked as if she might not get to see her daugh­ter grow up.

It made the 35-year-old Carter­ton woman even more de­ter­mined.

‘‘She was my fo­cus,’’ Ma­lyon said. ‘‘I didn’t have a choice.’’

She knew the months ahead would be hard, and they were. Nine weeks of chemo­ther­apy bat­tered her body, be­fore a fi­nal dose stripped her in­sides ahead of a cru­cial stem cell trans­plant.

Her hos­pi­tal visit ended with four weeks of ra­di­a­tion ther­apy. The process was har­row­ing, but it worked.

Ma­lyon is now back at home in Carter­ton and has been in re­mis­sion since the be­gin­ning of the year.

‘‘We just take life week by week at the mo­ment.

‘‘I used to be a plan­ner, but now I just go with the flow. If you fo­cused on what could go wrong, you’d go crazy.’’

Ma­lyon shud­dered when think­ing about the fi­nan­cial straits her treat­ment put the fam­ily through.

‘‘One of the big­gest lessons I learned is how im­por­tant it is to have in­sur­ance. Trauma in­sur­ance, med­i­cal in­sur­ance, in­come pro­tec­tion ... it’s key.’’

Af­ter hav­ing time off work she’s back, work­ing four days a week. She hasn’t for­got­ten the sup­port she and her fam­ily re­ceived from friends and to­tal strangers, part of which re­sulted in a Givealit­tle page that raised nearly $22,000.

Part­ner Chris Prenter said watch­ing her go through treat­ment had been a tough ex­peri- ence. Sup­port from friends and fam­ily had proved cru­cial.

‘‘I wouldn’t wish it on any­one. The big­gest thing to help us get through it was the peo­ple we were sur­rounded by, that was re­ally im­por­tant ... but it all seems too far away now. This year has been a com­plete turn­around.’’

Now, the cou­ple trea­sure ev­ery mo­ment. Ma­lyon spends as much time with her daugh­ter as she can. ‘‘[Char­lie’s] my best mate,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for me to cre­ate mem­o­ries, to do a lot of fun stuff, be­cause you just don’t know what’s around the corner.’’


Brooke Ma­lyon, pic­tured last week out­side her Carter­ton home and, above, with daugh­ter Char­lie dur­ing treat­ment.

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