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A new baby and blood cancer

From parenthood to blood cancer, your support has been constant

“Our happiness bubble suddenly popped.”

Giles Purbrick and his wife
Giles and Jacqui with newborn Maddie

When Giles Purbrick and partner Jacqui welcomed their baby daughter Maddie on New Year’s Day in 2020, they couldn’t have been happier.

After years of failed IVF, they were celebrating every moment with their precious newborn.

But just one week after Maddie’s birth, Giles received unimaginable news.

A shock diagnosis

Experiencing trouble breathing, Giles went to the emergency department for tests. Having recently run the Melbourne marathon, he didn’t suspect what was coming.

“The physician matter-of-factly said I had leukaemia. It was very abrupt and a huge surprise. I think my first words were, ‘You must have the wrong patient!’ ”

Giles called Jacqui immediately to tell her the crushing news. “Our happiness bubble suddenly popped,” says Giles.

So much to cope with

Giles and Maddie

Giles and Jacqui faced an overwhelming task – caring for Maddie while fighting blood cancer.

“It was very stressful juggling a newborn, feeling really unwell and going through band-aid treatment as more effective treatment was delayed due to uncertainty around COVID-19,” recalls Giles.

The Purbrick family desperately needed support to navigate the many challenges they now faced.

Thankfully, your generosity gave them that gift.

Guidance and understanding

Your support meant that Giles and Jacqui could turn to caring Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Coordinators for guidance at every step.

Expert Blood Cancer Support Coordinators connected with Australians facing blood cancer more than 40,000 times last year.

“They were immense in their support and constant companions through the trials and tribulations of my patient journey. They were always ready to take a call, answer questions, and point me towards information and resources,” says Giles.

“They were also very good at checking in with Jacqui.”

Financial stress

On top of the emotional and physical challenges, Giles and Jacqui were under immense financial pressure. Sadly, it’s a common experience for blood cancer patients who face hidden costs and long treatment times.

Our latest research shows that a third of people with blood cancer face $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, and more than 40% experience financial challenges.

“Jacqui had stopped working to focus on IVF, which was already financially challenging. When I was diagnosed, we were on my single income with no insurance cover,” explains Giles.

As treatment started, Giles was forced to reduce his work hours significantly and, at times, had to stop completely.

“There were periods when we had no income.”

Giles turned to the Leukaemia Foundation again for guidance, attending our Legal and Financial Challenges webinar – a service made possible thanks to your support.

Your generosity helped over 1,000 people attend Leukaemia Foundation webinars or support groups last year.

“It was expertly facilitated and provided a wealth of information and practical advice. It went into incredible detail on topics such as budgeting, insurances, and social security services,” says Giles.

A clinical trial

The clinical trial involved 14 months of treatment

In August 2020, Giles was part of a clinical trial, and in January 2022, he received the news his family had been hoping for – he was in remission. That single word represented a future with Jacqui and his beautiful daughter, Maddie.

“It was an incredible feeling to find out,” he recalls.

Returning to work

Shortly after, Giles returned to full-time work. However, health complications saw him stop work again later that year.

Once again, your generosity meant the Leukaemia Foundation was there.

“They provided considered advice and were a fantastic sounding board. They helped me manage difficult conversations, advised me not to return to work too quickly, and encouraged me to push for appropriate work adjustments.”

Wonderfully, Giles has used this valuable support to return to work once more.

“I’m doing work that is more aligned to my new normal and overall health and wellbeing,” says Giles.

Transforming lives

Giles and Maddie enjoying swimming lessons together

The support you’ve given Giles’ family means they’ve been able to get throu gh the many challenges of blood cancer. They’re very grateful for the chance of a new life together in 2024.

“My family is my greatest gift. Our goal this year is to be a family in flow and connect with our friends, family and communities,” says Giles.

“I’m an example of how your support enriches and transforms people’s lives when they need it most. Thank you so much.”

Thank you for being there for Giles, Maddie and Jacqui

See our other inspiring blood cancer stories

Last updated on April 18th, 2024

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.