Cancer shook our family twice in the same year | Leukaemia Foundation

Cancer shook our family twice in the same year

Jeff and Sally Wedding_web

Sally Hansen and her husband Jeff celebrated their wedding and found out they were expecting a baby but amidst this joy, cancer rocked their family twice.

“My husband’s grandad George had just retired and at 76 was looking forward to spending more time with his daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Sally said.

“Living in a country town outside of Adelaide, he was a fit and healthy man for his age,” she said.

“In October 2013, he had a routine blood test with his local GP and thought no more of it.”

Then one phone call changed George’s life.

George and Jeff_wedding

George and Jeff on our wedding day

“He was busy repainting the picket fence around his property, so didn’t hear the phone ring,” Sally said.

“Then the local police turned up on his doorstep, they’d been alerted by the doctor because of the seriousness of his blood tests.”

When George didn’t answer the phone, they feared the worst.

Cancer diagnosis

George quickly packed a bag for the local hospital and after a myriad of tests was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

He did not return home for four months.

“George was undergoing treatment and in March 2014, he was able to come home for a short time to celebrate our wedding. It was the many happy highlights of his life to enjoy that day with his family,” Sally said.

In April came the news that the AML was in remission and was able to return home.

However towards the end of August 2014, George felt like he was getting a cold. A visit to the doctor and blood tests later, revealed the AML was back and this time, it was aggressive.

There was no treatment available.

Then, not even a year after his diagnosis, with his daughters holding his hands, George passed away in hospital on September 2014.

Jane and Sally on Holiday Feb 2015

Mum and I on our UK trip

If this wasn’t enough, while her husband’s grandfather was undergoing blood cancer treatment, Sally’s own mother Jane, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer only a couple of months earlier in June 2013.

Doctors operated on a large mass in her stomach and underwent a full hysterectomy and appendectomy.

Despite feeling the effects of chemotherapy, Jane was also able to attend her daughter’s wedding.

“Mum and I were able to go on a trip of a lifetime together to the United Kingdom in February last year,” Sally said.

“In March shortly returning from our trip, Mum was told the cancer had returned and she would need to continue treatment indefinitely, as the cancer would likely to keep returning,” she said.

“It was devastating. I had just found out I was pregnant with my first child.

“Mum is now receiving treatment on an ongoing basis and will continue to do so until she decides enough is enough.

“Our baby boy Maverick was  born in September last year and I am so glad that Mum is able to spend quality time with him and although George is no longer with us, we think of him every day, and we’ll be telling Maverick all about him.”

Sally Jane Baby Maverick Dec 2015

Beach day with Mum and Maverick

World’s Greatest Shave

Sally is taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave in March and is hoping to raise $2,000 to help blood cancer patients like George.

“If I can do anything to help raise much needed funds for those suffering from cancer and undergoing treatment, and their families, or help to find a cure, that’s what I’m going to do.”

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