Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

Susan’s plea to make it a Dry July

- KAITLYN SMITH

SUSAN Lightbody’s holiday to Sri Lanka in December 2018 was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime.

Instead it would forever mark the start of her battle with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

After returning home to the Gold Coast with husband Gerhard – some unexpected baggage including a “hacky cough and the worst diarrhoea ever” in tow – she followed up with a visit to the GP.

“I underwent months of tests but then I had to go into surgery as my bowel prolapsed because I was coughing so much,” Mrs Lightbody recalled.

Doctors would discover a large tumour on her ovary.

“I came out of surgery and was in the recovery, still groggy, and the doctors were sitting beside me telling me that they couldn’t perform my surgery because they found a cancer,” she said.

“It had passed my abdominal cavity and they found seeds of it in my lungs too. That was scary.”

Though in the clear for now, Mrs Lightbody worries about whether the couple’s world could come crashing down again due to ovarian cancer’s return rate of 75 per cent.

“I’m fine, I feel really good again, but they say it often comes back around the threeyear mark. The seeds in my lungs could apparently wake up; it’s a bit unknown.”

The uncertaint­y of her disease, which averages a fiveyear survival rate, is one of the many reasons she’s encouragin­g

Gold Coasters to get among Dry July this month.

Profits raised for Ovarian Cancer Australia will be used in part to develop a support program for the patient’s often-forgotten partners.

“Gerhard has been with me through everything, to every doctor’s appointmen­t, it’s on his mind as much as it’s on mine,” Mrs Lightbody said.

“He’s a lot quieter these days, his life has completely changed too.”

Dry July CEO Katie Evans said participat­ion numbers were improving year-on-year

with thousands now becoming “sober-curious”.

“We just ticked over $3.1m raised already and we’ve got 28,000 people on board,” she said.

“Back in the day we were seeing about 20,000 people take part annually and raising between $3-4m but the last few years we’ve seen about 40,000 people take part and raised about $10m annually.”

She says it’s the “perfect excuse” for those considerin­g a month off the booze to also help raise much-needed funds for charities.

To take part register at dryjuly.com

 ??  ?? Susan Lightbody was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer two years ago and is urging people to get involved in Dry July. Picture Glenn Hampson
Susan Lightbody was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer two years ago and is urging people to get involved in Dry July. Picture Glenn Hampson

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