Closed Appeals

Chelsea Hirschmann

Chelsea is a 15 year old young woman currently in Year 10 at Redlynch State College. She has huge dreams. Her goal is to graduate from High School and study medicine at University. Chels has a long journey ahead – not only academically but also health wise.
Four weeks ago Chelsea was diagnosed with a fibromyxoid sarcoma. This is a very rare tumour. Sarcomas, whilst rare, are usually found in children and young adults. Fibromyxoid sarcomas have only been ‘known’ and identified for two decades. They are usually found in the extremities – the arms, legs, fingers, toes. A common treatment is to remove ‘wide margins’ – sometimes as amputation.
Chelsea’s tumour is in her neck. She is facing a six week course of radiotherapy. This is to kill the cancer cells which have a very high potential to spread. They often spread to the lung. If they do move there, Chelsea’s journey will be longer and much more difficult.
After the radiation treatment, Chelsea will then have an operation in Melbourne, which will remove an approximate 7 by 7 centimetre, and two centimetre deep area from her neck. Although this is a really large area the surgeons need to make sure that they remove all of the affected area. Chelsea will need skin grafts and plastic surgery. We hope that this surgery will be a success and all of the cancer is removed. Unfortunately, we won’t know this for more than 8 years. Chelsea will need many return visits to her doctors and hospital.
Chelsea lives in Cairns but the only place in Australia that has the expertise and knowledge of this particular sarcoma is the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Victoria. In late March Chelsea and her mum will relocate to Melbourne for some time. They are leaving behind Chelsea’s older brother Storm, and her younger sister, Baylee. Chelsea’s dad also lives in Cairns. The family will be separated for many months and will find this very difficult.

Charissa Simpson

Charissa Simpson and her family need your assistance. Until three weeks ago Charissa was a healthy 23 year old, studying to become a Vet. She suddenly became ill, and was flown to a Brisbane ICU unit where her life hung in the balance for 2 weeks as she underwent 9 hours of open heart surgery and remained on life support for 10 days. Charissa has Cardiomyopathy, and will require a heart transplant. Just a few years ago she would not have survived, but she now has a small pump in the left side of her heart requiring changes of a specialized battery every four hours.

Her parent's, Dave & Lynette had to close their cafe 'Monsoon Cruising' at the busiest time of their business year. Some of you may have even been served a coffee or lunch by Charissa, as she worked at the cafe during her university holidays. Or you may know her from 'The Towel Man', Video Ezy or the local vet. Charissa often had a young wallaby in a sling whilst fulfilling her role as a wildlife carer.

Charissa, her parents and older brother Colin (who has high care needs due to cerebral palsy) have had to re-locate to Brisbane where they need to be for up to 18 months. Being on the heart transplant list means they need to live within 15 minutes of the hospital, a very expensive area in which to rent. Please help support Charissa and this wonderful family with your donation.

Jake Paterson

Twelve months ago, Jake was a healthy, happy 10 year old boy attending Yorkeys Knob State School; then he started having seizures out of the blue. Six months later, Jake was finally diagnosed as having a Dysembryoplastic Neauroepithelial Tumor, (DNET) a very rare brain tumor.

Jake is 11 years old and the middle son of Lisa & Steven Paterson. He also has FIVE brothers & sisters!!! His mum and dad are battlers, a hard working couple who have been married for 25 years. Jake’s ongoing treatment backwards and forwards from Cairns to Brisbane has totally exhausted the family’s savings; even Jake’s 16 year old big brother, Taren, who has worked hard for a long time to save up for a dirt bike has selflessly handed over all his savings to his parents so his brother could get to Brisbane for the most recent round of specialists, tests and treatment.Lisa and Steven have run out of time and money, they are at their wits end. They desperately need to relocate the family to be closer to the Royal Children’s hospital where Jake will receive the very best care and treatment for his condition. For Jake’s sake they need your help.

Luke Westaway

In 2012, after a regular quarterly MRI scan, Luke was informed by his Oncologist that his brain tumor had returned - for the fourth time. Luke is the eldest son of 3 children to Angela and Jonathan Westaway. He has a brother, Adam and shares a house in Bentley Park with his sister Jenna.
Luke who recently turned 30 has been a fulltime teacher at Hambledon Primary School for the past 2 years and was in the final weeks of grading report cards and preparing his grade seven pupils for their move to secondary school. Luke is well thought of at the school and his involvement there goes back to when he was 17 and a part-time employee in their after School and Vacation Care programme while studying at JCU.
Luke’s first brain tumor was discovered in March 2005 after recovering from what was thought to be a massive brain haemorrhage. The tumor was found to be the culprit and was removed and tests confirmed a malignant grade 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma. This type of tumor is generally found in children and is rare in adults under 25. Luke was 22. It is a fast growing tumor and has a high rate of recurrence after removal.
Luke recovered from surgery which was followed by heavy localised radiation and 12 months of chemo during which time he was able to return to his studies at JCU Cairns.
In 2008 the tumour disappointingly returned. Luke was operated on again, had more chemo and was able to return to university where in 2010 he finally gained his education degree. The tumor returned again in mid 2011 whilst enjoying his first full year at Hambledon Primary School. After another operation at Townsville hospital, more chemo, and another recovery he then returned to school for a few months when sudden seizures put him back in hospital. Luke had had a few mild epileptic seizures after the 2nd operation, and they were quickly brought under control through medication. This time, however, the seizures where stronger, only minutes apart and continued for several weeks. He was hospitalised and was heavily sedated until doctors managed to find the right level of medication.
Luke has never complained about the cards he has been dealt and this goes back to when he was first born. The day after Luke was born he was rushed from Cairns Calvary Hospital to The Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for immediate surgery. Luke was born with the bottom section of his food pipe joined to his Bronchial tube and major surgery rejoined his oesophagus. He then went through a painful healing process which took almost 10 years, requiring over 50 endoscopies and general anaesthetics. During all of this Luke has been a chronic asthma sufferer all his life with several bouts of pneumonia thrown in.
The good news is the cancer has been found early and is growing slowly this time. Luke and his family will soon consult with his neurosurgeon to discuss the next steps, and are also looking at a range of options which may include the renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charles Teo in the hope that Luke will one day be cancer free.    

Stuart Hardy

Stuart Hardy is a Father to Justis and Bodie and a husband to Hayley and on 11th February their lives changed forever. Stuart was at work when he went to find some panadol for a headache. He is a builder and he collapsed. He had an acute fossa haemorrhage (bleed in brain). He was airlifted to Townsville and then to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. Tests showed he has an AVM, a large mass of veins at the back of his brain causing the pressure and subsequently the bleeds. Stuart has had other bleeds since then and had been in the hospital for over two months in Brisbane. He needs a major operation to remove the AVM but first he needs to build up the strength to endure this next phase. He has been lucky to be allowed home to Cairns for his rehab and to spend some time with his family. He now goes back to Brisbane on the 15th of May for major surgery which it is envisioned will take at least 12 hours. No one knows what comes next but we are all hoping for the best.
Medical expenses are expensive, so is accommodation in Brisbane when it is only partially subsidised, school fees, mortgage and the list goes on. It is probable that Stuart will not work again and may need a full time carer. The financial strain on this family has been astronomical and to top it off their house was broken into and trashed while were in Brisbane.
Help us to raise funds to support Hayley, Stuart and the kids during this difficult time. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

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