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From childhood cancer to a second diagnosis 

For Graeme, blood cancer and life have intertwined for many years. At age 11, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare type of blood cancer.

Graeme lies in a hospital bed while a nurse connects an IV line to him
Graeme taking part in the CAR T-cell clinical trial

“I was considered terminal, with two weeks to live,” says Graeme.

After enduring adult dose treatments to deal with its severity, Graeme received amazing news: he was in remission.

Fast forward about 20 years and Graeme noticed a tingling sensation down his arm. A scan revealed shocking news: he was diagnosed with a different type of blood cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The search for trustworthy information

Graeme’s wife, Mandy, contacted the Leukaemia Foundation straight away.

“I was looking for easy information for the family to read about what Graeme had, and what to expect in the future,” says Mandy.

The generosity of caring people like you meant Graeme’s family could understand more about his diagnosis, armed with the latest information from a trusted source.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s information and education service offers a wide range of expert-reviewed disease resources, from webinars and websites to booklets and factsheets.
A smiling woman and man embrace, with a background of trees and a creek behind them
Mandy and Graeme Ardern

A new challenge, but thanks to you, support was available

Graeme and Mandy navigated life with blood cancer together, through periods of treatment and times of normality. They put making memories and trips with their son, Dean, at the top of their priority list.

But Graeme’s situation changed again four years ago. He relapsed and needed to leave his Sunshine Coast home for an urgent stem cell transplant in Brisbane.

Your generosity gave Mandy and Graeme something so very important – a way to stay together

Mandy stayed at Leukaemia Foundation accommodation near the hospital and used the transport service to visit Graeme daily.

“The help we’ve had from the Leukaemia Foundation has been amazing. It’s kept us together,” says Graeme.

It also took away some of the financial burden of blood cancer.

“The transport to and from hospital was a huge help. We’d already spent nearly $3,000 on parking that year,” says Mandy.

With your help, our transport program helped 1,478 people last year alone, while 547 families were provided accommodation near hospital.

New hope

Your support had already answered the Arderns’ call for help in many wonderful ways. But in 2021, you were there for them once again.

Graeme had relapsed again and was running out of options.

Then precious new hope was found through a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell clinical trial.


With the trial came strict requirements, like needing to be near hospital after treatment and always having a carer available.

Thankfully, your contribution made sure the family were right where they needed to be – in Leukaemia Foundation accommodation.

“At the end of the day, Graeme wouldn’t have been able to have the CAR T-cell treatment if it wasn’t for us being able to stay there,” says Mandy.

“The difference it made to me and my family was genuinely priceless,” says Graeme.

Incredible news

After Graeme’s CAR T-cell therapy, his family received fantastic news. For the first time in 15 years, there was no evidence of the blood cancer he’d been diagnosed with in 2006.

“It was amazing. It was something we weren’t expecting to ever hear,” says Graeme.

“I was crying, I was bawling my eyes out. Just happy tears, just so happy,” adds Mandy.

A life-saving difference

Giving families new hope and the chance for happy tears – what a powerful difference you’re making. You’ve made a life-changing impact in Graeme and Mandy’s life and they’re incredible grateful for supporters like you.

“How do you say thank you for something that’s meant so much to us on multiple occasions? I just want to give people a hug. Thank you,” says Mandy.

The Arderns on holiday in the snow
The Ardern family on holiday

Did you know…

Hodgkin lymphoma may affect a single lymph node, a group of lymph nodes or another part of the body like the spleen or liver. About 600 Australians are diagnosed each year.