Leanne is my sis-in-law, well not officially, but she and my brother, Grant, have been together for fourteen years. They live with the two kids, Michael and Elizabeth, who are seventeen and fifteen, respectively. At that time in their lives when they’re both trying to find their own way, their Mum has been diagnosed with cancer. Leanne is currently unable to work, and Grant has taken a lot of time off to support and care for her. Leanne’s parents also live nearby, they’re retired and have offered their support wherever they can.
Leanne’s cancer journey so far:
In November 2018 (after months of severe pain and several visits to her doctor), Leanne was diagnosed with a tumour in the bladder. Initially, the advice from the specialist was that she would undergo simple surgery to have the tumour removed and the chances were, everything would be fine. This, however, turned out not to be the case. After surgery in December, Leanne was advised that the small, ‘slow-growing’ tumour they had expected to find, was actually large and aggressive, and had completely taken over her bladder. Further scans revealed the cancer had metastasised to her liver, lymph-nodes and lungs. She would have to undergo a course of chemotherapy, and possibly immunotherapy before the primary cancer could be removed.
At the end of December, Leanne unfortunately became very ill. A complication from the cancer meant she needed more surgery. Post-op emergency chemotherapy followed, the effects of which, combined with the recovery from surgery meant she spent most of January in hospital.
Over the past five months, Leanne has undergone more surgery, six rounds of chemotherapy and has been in and out of hospital due to side-effects from the treatment. Her physical health has deteriorated, she has lost a lot of weight, muscle mass, stamina and strength. Constant pain has also been a factor, not to mention the mental battle that she goes through on a daily basis.
It has not all been doom and gloom. I have seen great strength in Leanne, and the strength and determination I have seen in Grant, I did not think was possible. On good days, Leanne has been venturing out to appointments and places that she feels comfortable visiting. Also, a follow-up scan two months ago showed the chemo was working well – the masses in her liver, lymph-nodes and lungs have shrunk. This was fantastic news and we definitely celebrated the win! However, there is still a long way to go…
I am confident Leanne will get better in time. Until this happens, I just want her to be free from as much worry as possible; to feel comfortable and supported. Grant and Leanne have never asked me – or anyone else – for anything. They’re very private people (I had to beg them to let me write this) who enjoy the simple things in life. They have been my support crew and it’s now my turn to return that love.
I have decided to split the funds I raise between bladder cancer research and Leanne, to contribute to cost of outpatient treatments, medications, care and generally to see her through this tough time.
I am asking from the bottom of my heart that you donate. In return, I will continue my running journey for the rest of this year. Next up is ten kilometre runs, a five kilometre with family and friends in August, aiming for a half-marathon in September. This will be a massive challenge for me, but it’s nothing in comparison to what Leanne, Grant and the kids face every single day.
I will keep you posted on Leanne’s journey and my running throughout the year.
Thank you so much, in advance,