Pitch in to help cancer group
BRAIN cancer, says Michelle Cummins, can be spectacularly undignified.
“Nobody likes to have seizures and dribble in front of their boss,” the Deakin researcher says. “It’s embarrassing.”
Seizures every four days are the new norm for the young mum, after 4½ years of living with untreatable brain cancer.
But having a seizure in front of her boss the other day marked a new low.
It’s the sort of story that is better shared with people who have experienced similar indignities, in a support group like the one Ms Cummins is now working to promote.
Seventeen people regularly attend the newly-formed Geelong Peace of Mind Foundation support group, with members as young as 10.
Lara primary school student Hayley Rabbas is undergoing aggressive treatment for brain cancer. Family members and carers of cancer patients are also welcome to meetings.
A charity golf day at Thirteenth Beach Golf Club on February 13 aims to raise both money and awareness, so more patients can be helped with cash grants, she said.
The event is on “an unlucky day for an unlucky cancer”, Ms Cummins said.
She was diagnosed on the same day she found out she was pregnant with her first child.
With brain cancer patients often unable to drive or work as a result of impaired cognitive function or motor skills, seizures and fatigue, dollars can be tight in many households, Ms Cummins said.
Brain cancer surgeries and treatments can also be extremely expensive, adding to the heavy financial burden, she said.
Peace of Mind was recently forced to reduce the grants it handed out from $1000 to $500 because of lack of funds.
But while brain cancer is “unlucky”, Ms Cummins said, her diagnosis has helped her appreciate life and live it to the full.
It also means she makes the most of every moment with her husband, Dave, and daughter Chelsea.
“I am on the committee for the Peace of Mind Foundation to help others that are worse off than myself,” Ms Cummins said. “Four-and-a-half years ago when I was first diagnosed I didn’t think I’d be around to watch my baby grow up but here I am today.”
Register for the Peace of Mind Foundation Charity Golf Day on February 13 at Thirteenth Beach Golf Club at peaceofmindfoundation .org.au.