Cut­ting cost of can­cer bat­tle

Stirling Times - - Front Page - Laura Pond

MORE than 20 years after beat­ing a rare form of can­cer, mother-of-two Stephanie Nether­cote is fac­ing her sec­ond bat­tle with the dis­ease.

The 29-year-old, who is stay­ing at the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion’s In­naloo head­quar­ters that of­fi­cially opened yes­ter­day, was di­ag­nosed with­non-Hodgkin MALT (mu­cosa-as­so­ci­ated lym­phoid tis­sue) lym­phoma when she was five.

After two years she went into re­mis­sion, but grew up con­stantly wor­ry­ing the can­cer would re­turn.

“It was al­ways in the back of my mind,” she said.

Ear­lier this year, after ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain in one eye, Mrs Nether­cote’s fear was re­alised when an­other tu­mour was dis­cov­ered be­hind her eye.

“It was a big shock to the sys­tem that it came back 25 years later,” she said.

Mrs Nether­cote lives in Wick­ham in the Pil­bara and is stay­ing with her hus­band and two young chil­dren at the Foun­da­tion’s pa­tient ac­com­mo­da­tion in In­naloo while un­der­go­ing ra­dio­ther­apy.

“It’s been re­ally good to have my fam­ily here,” she said.

“Hav­ing this apart­ment has re­ally saved us.”

Mrs Nether­cote pre­vi­ously had to spend six weeks in Perth, de­scrib­ing the cost as “hor­ren­dous”, be­fore find­ing out about the foun­da­tion’s free ac­com­mo­da­tion.

It of­fers 10 self-con­tained apart­ments at the Stir­ling Cross devel­op­ment.

Leukaemia Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Bill Petch of­fi­cially opened the fa­cil­ity and said the units aimed to re­lieve the stress and fi­nan­cial bur­den for peo­ple with blood can­cer from ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas who had to re­lo­cate to Perth for treat­ment.

“With the co-lo­ca­tion of ac­com­mo­da­tion with our blood can­cer sup­port ser­vices and ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, we will be close at hand in a brand new, safe and se­cure home-away-fromhome, with in­cred­i­ble ameni­ties and, im­por­tantly, all ma­jor treat­ment hos­pi­tals ac­ces­si­ble within 25 min­utes,” he said.

Mrs Nether­cote said the foun­da­tion had helped her “unimag­in­ably”.

Treat­ment has caused her to lose vi­sion in one eye, which doc­tors hope will re­turn when in­flam­ma­tion sub­sides, and she will have to wait 12 weeks to find out if the ra­di­a­tion was suc­cess­ful. If not, she will need chemo­ther­apy.

De­spite this, she re­mains pos­i­tive.

“If I can beat it when I was five years old, then I can beat it now,” she said.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey d485154

Stephanie and An­drew Nether­cote with their chil­dren Hay­den and Char­lotte

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