Blood Cancer Real Patient Stories

Patient stories

Inspiring videos

Patients share their stories and experiences with blood cancer.

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Leukaemia: It left our family in pieces

On the day Nidhi Raj were set to celebrate the birth of their son, their three-year-old, Kiaan was diagnosed with leukaemia.

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Lymphoma: Amy opens door to a cure

Mum-of-three Amy found out on Christmas Eve she had a tumour in her chest.

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Lymphoma: Rare blood cancer keeps Kyle from his beloved soccer

Kyle went to hospital with a swollen knee, but his family never suspected the cause of the swelling could be cancer.

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Brendan Hodda and family

Leukaemia: It was like going through the four seasons

Brendan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just three days before his 40th birthday.

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Tommy Barkmeyer featured image

Lymphoma: I'm thankful for a 'new normal' after my needle in haystack match

Tommy was diagnosed with a rare type of lymphoma after suffering an epileptic seizure.

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Lymphoma: Shock diagnosis three days before wedding

Mick Zuvelek was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma only three days before his wedding.

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Aplastic anaemia: No easy ride

Instead of finishing high school and hanging out with her friends, 16-year-old Jessie was fighting a life-threatening blood disorder.

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Chris Brugger and family

Lymphoma: new drug gave Chris another chance

“My wife was heavily pregnant when I had my second transplant.”

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Peter Younis

Waldenstrom's: Peter's promising clinical trial results

When Victorian vet Peter Younis relapsed, he opted to try a clinical trial for a targeted therapy rather than having more chemo.

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Elle Halliwell and husband Nick

Leukaemia: "I was diagnosed with CML then found out I was pregnant"

“We made the decision to go through with having the baby, and then we reached out to the Leukaemia Foundation.”

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Leukaemia: "It took me to the edge and brought me back"

Three hours after presenting to his doctor with a sinus infection, Shane was on a flight from Gladstone to Brisbane and diagnosed with AML.

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Samantha Mitchell

Skin lymphoma: the first doctor told me it was eczema

Samantha Mitchell shares her experience living with cutaneous lymphoma, a rare and specific type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) where the disease manifests predominantly in the skin.

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Leukaemia: Little Lucia a precious gift

After a bone marrow transplant Tegan’s dream of having a baby were realised when her sister donated her eggs.

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Anthony Arden

Lymphoma: "It was a shock"

“It was a shock, but you have to deal with things now, you have to be positive in this or the cancer wins.”

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AML: "It was a real rollercoaster"

“I just want as much time as possible with my family and be able to be there for my kids.”

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Leukaemia: Facing the challenges and fighting back

Jane’s was no longer a normal family charging through life.

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In remission after seeking second opinion

Carole Bartlett chose not to ‘watch and wait’, after being diagnosed with a blood disease.

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Lymphoma: I'm now grateful for each moment

Ash was a new 26-year-old mum when she was diagnosed with blood cancer after the birth of her son.

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Jeremy Bird

Leukaemia: With strength, support, and love we got through it

Jeremy had never had a health scare in his life before being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

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Aleigha thumb

AML: "I didn't know how we were going to manage"

In addition to her blood cancer diagnosis, Aleigha was faced with the daunting task of relocating her family from Darkan to Perth.

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Janette Elson

Amyloidosis and myeloma: Diagnosed day before 66th birthday

Janette Elson was living a happy life in a sleepy beachside haven near Bundaberg when life took an unexpected turn.

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India Pappas

A family's worst fears confirmed on Christmas Day

No 4-year-old should spend Christmas Day in an emergency ward.

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Richard and Heinke Butt hiking in South America

After leukaemia: I look at life through different eyes

While on a quiet camping holiday, Richard received a surprise phone call from his GP that would change his life forever.

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Leukaemia: "My thoughts were of total disbelief"

Judi was diagnosed with blood cancer when she was 20 years old.

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Ashely McCarthy and daughter Amelia

Leukaemia: diagnosed four days before Christmas

Ashley’s three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ALL just days before Christmas.

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Lynn and Darrin Simpson

Caring for my 40-year-old son with blood cancer

Lynn can offer a unique perspective on blood cancer that most carers don’t experience.

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Mackenzie

Leukaemia: Mackenzie's story

Mackenzie began a brave struggle with blood cancer aged just five.

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Alan Mackay-Sim

Myeloma: I am ready to enjoy each day more

In a bizarre twist of fate, one of Australia’s leading stem cell researchers had to have a transplant of his own.

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Nigel Harbach and family

From stuntman to stem cells

Nigel was working as a stuntman on the set of “The Matrix” when a routine blood test turned his action-packed life upside down.

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Chris and Mary Davis

I've beaten a heart attack and CML

Since Chris’ CML diagnosis, he’s had three different treatments, endured debilitating side-effects, and has taken part in an international clinical trial.

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Jacob

Leukaemia: It changed everything

For Earlene and her family, it felt like, “A punch in the face. It came from nowhere”.

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Feeling the physical, emotional and financial effects

John felt a lump on his chest and after investigation was diagnosed with blood cancer.

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Amy and her husband Brett

From blood cancer to Blood Buddy

At 28, Amy was a healthy and outdoor-loving girl; a volunteer fire fighter who also competed in her local dressage championships.

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Leukaemia: Superhero Bayley is beating the blood cancer bad guy

In 2014, the McKinnon’s lives took a dramatic turn with the news their six-year-old son, Bayley, had leukaemia.

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Lyn Chiozzini

Growing stronger but taking nothing for granted

Lyn Chiozzini’s leukaemia diagnosis meant leaving behind loved ones for months of treatment.

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Lesley Royle

MPN: I wouldn’t change life for quids

Lesley Royle has been dealing with an MPN diagnosis for 22 years.

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Jennifer, Will and Sean Wright

Hakuna Matata: Will’s philosophy

Christmas Day: while most people were opening presents and relaxing with family, five-year-old Will was about to undergo a stem cell transplant.

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Leukaemia: There was support to help me

John’s wife Laura was suddenly diagnosed with an aggressive and rare type of leukaemia.

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Jess Sampson

Leukaemia: I was a 15-year-old fighting for my life

Jess was halfway through Year 11 and enjoying life as a teenager when she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

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Perry Judd

I wanted to let my story help others

Brisbane dad Perry Judd jumped at the chance “to play a part in making someone’s journey a little bit easier”, and became a Blood Buddy.

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Kristy Pyle

Lymphoma: it's made me value my life

Having cancer has made me really value my life, I don’t take things for granted, I tell those I love that I love them all the time

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Dr John Rogers and Margot

Leukaemia: From clinical trial to remission

Dr John Rogers is one of the first Australians with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) to successfully stop treatment on a venetoclax clinical trial.

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Lymphoma: I had no symptoms at all

June had no symptoms at all when she was diagnosed with lymphoma.

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Daniela and her lymphoma story

Daniela is back on her feet after blood cancer

Daniela was just 24 and had recently immigrated to Australia from Slovakia before she was diagnosed with lymphoma. 

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Leukaemia: I relapsed three times.

When Paula was diagnosed with AML, she felt like her “world was falling apart”.

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Jenny

Lymphoma: "I was ready to end it all"

Jenny has been in remission for 22 years after being told she may have just months to live.

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Dan Hartley: We couldn't have got through the past year without you

Dan (28), from Launceston, Tasmania, experienced over three months of chronic pain and fatigue leading up to a shocking leukaemia diagnosis.

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Chloe & family say "Thank you"

A massive thank you to everyone who so generously supported rural and regional families staying in Leukaemia Foundation accommodation this Christmas. 

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Lymphoma: My worst and best experience

“Cancer has been a journey I’ll never forget. The shortest and yet the longest year of my life. The worst and best experience.”

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Lymphoma: My whole life had to be put on hold

Madeleine was just 20 years old when she was diagnosed with blood cancer.

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Myeloma: I had a wig made for my son's wedding

Denyse’s sore back was the first real hint that something wasn’t right.

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Deyan's last option

When Deyan Cashmere relapsed in February, following a stem cell transplant, his only option was to go to the U.S. for potentially life-saving immunotherapy.

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PROVIDING A HOME FULL OF HEART

The Nield family were overwhelmed by the kind and thoughtful care provided by the Leukaemia Foundation while seven-year-old son, Rocco, battled Hodgkin lymphoma (HL).

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Leukaemia: Staying positive got me through

Julie was diagnosed with blood cancer and underwent a stem cell transplant a year later after chemotherapy.

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Leukaemia: Emotionally, psychologically, mentally the hardest thing

Dave lost his father to blood cancer in 2014, a little over a month after he was first diagnosed.

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GVHD: Our life is just another version of normal

Blood cancer was a devastating blow for Martin Leicht, but what he’s achieved since is testament to his determination.

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Des and Jessica

Leukaemia: Two transfusions to make daughter's wedding

Three days before Jessica’s wedding, her dad was hospitalised. But Des was determined to walk his daughter down the aisle.

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Bronx had blood cancer

Leukaemia: Four months old and fighting two different blood cancers

When bubbly baby Bronx was just four months old his family was told he had a very rare and often deadly blood cancer.

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Myeloma: I thought I'd never see Dad again

Doctors told Michael to ‘get his affairs in order’ and prepare for the possibility of not making it to Christmas.

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'Total blinking shock' of leukaemia

Les Sprague thought it was a passing virus but a pathologist rang and told him it could be blood cancer.

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Nicole Cane, diagnosed with myeloma at 25

Myeloma at 25

The average diagnosis age is 70, so Nicole’s not your average patient.

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Leukaemia: "I have two healthy sons living full lives"

Koreen’s two sons were both diagnosed with ALL just years apart.

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Lymphoma: Shock at cancer covering windpipe

It has been a difficult journey for Jessica Harbridge, who was diagnosed with T lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare blood cancer.

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Matt on holiday in Canada

HCLv: Matt travels to the other side of the world for his 'miracle drug'

This is my story about my journey with a rare form of blood cancer, Hairy Cell Leukaemia variant (HCLv). It’s had me on the ropes a few times, but for now I’ve got the upper hand and it’s under control.

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Leukaemia: Josh 'hit cancer on the head' to get family home

Three years after starting treatment for leukaemia, Josh Sullivan is back to working the family farm.

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Tegan and her family

CML: "Something wasn't right"

Tegan was just 14 when she was diagnosed with CML.

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Leukaemia: My blood cancer came back

Kristine was told she had a blood cancer after feeling “off” for a couple of weeks.

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HLH: Kai's courageous battle with rare disorder

At only two years old, Kai was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

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Robert on the Kokoda trail

Robert’s battler spirit not only helped him take on the Kokoda trail but also an ALL diagnosis

Robert, 60, has never been one to shy away from a challenge, conquering the Kokoda trail, the Himalayas, as well as a shock acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) diagnosis in 2014.

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Leukaemia: "Everyone is their own person"

After bad headaches whilst travelling, Anthony was diagnosed with AML.

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Lizzie Stephens

Childhood leukaemia: Lizzie’s still laughing despite battle

Lizzie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia a month before her second birthday.

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Brendan Wessely

Leukaemia: The doctor rang me and said, "I'm sorry"

Brendan didn’t know anything about blood cancer when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Mark

Leukaemia: My world was turned upside down

“I was a fit 23-year-old working in the mines when I was told I had acute promyelocytic leukaemia.”

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Peter Carr

Waldenstrom’s: I've learned as much as possible about my illness

Peter is very involved with WMozzies, an online support group for patients with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinaemia.

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Jack Ryan's acute lymphoblastic leukaemia story

Leukaemia: I felt like I was having a bad dream

Jack’s parents found out four days before Christmas that he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Maggie Coppin successful battled acute myeloid luekaemia

Leukaemia: She was only six hours old

“We found out Maggie had acute myeloid leukaemia six hours after she was born.”

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Marnie Mathews

Lymphoma: I am now a happier, more fulfilled person

After completing her Hodgkin lymphoma treatment, Marnie dealt with many issues that are common among survivors.

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Clynton Corbet

Leukaemia: Our world came to a grinding halt

Father of three Clynton was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and needed a stem cell transplant.

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Bronte Hutchinson

Leukaemia: I am a survivor

Hours after she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, Bronte was flown to Brisbane to begin treatment.

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Julie Allen

Lymphoma: Challenges bring moments for growth and learning

After experiencing many typical symptoms, Julie was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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David Birchenough

Amyloidosis: I wondered whether I would die

“Further tests and a renal biopsy finally identified AL amyloidosis affecting my heart and kidneys.”

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