Given 16% chance of survival I'm just happy to be alive | Leukaemia Foundation

Given 16% chance of survival I’m just happy to be alive

Mike Higgins former Channel 7 newsreader


The man with the golden voice, former Channel 7 newsreader Mike Higgins, is happy to be alive after battling a rare form of lymphoma

At 67, Mike may look a little older than he did when he was beamed into our lounge rooms during the 70s and 80s, but that smooth, rich voice is still instantly recognisable.

Mike was diagnosed eight years ago with cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which primarily affects the skin causing patches, plaques, tumours and lesions.

“My oncologist was pretty upfront and said that it’s not a good one to have,” recalls Mike. “In fact there was just a 16% chance of survival.”

Following his diagnosis, Mike endured four years of various chemotherapy treatments, radiation and, finally, a bone marrow transplant, with all the difficult side effects that accompany them.

“Cutaneous lymphoma can produce all sorts of weird skin issues,” he added. “I had open lesions all over my body with some on my back as big as fried eggs. Fortunately these have now disappeared, and have left behind a few hundred tea-like stains all over my skin.”

Cancer support

During his treatment Mike stayed at the ESA Village, which he describes as “a little bit of heaven”.

“Fluffy towels, a sparkling bathroom, every kind of kitchen implement you could think of, reclining chairs, a spa pool, beds like clouds and staff who are earthly angels,” Mike said.

“For a cancer patient, these things aren’t just supportive, they are healing,” he said. “At the same time as my diagnosis, everything in my old house had begun to give up the ghost and the Leukaemia Foundation helped me out in really practical ways.

“At one point, I had a huge lesion on my back which made it impossible for me to lie on my back. The Leukaemia Foundation provided me with a special medical mattress. I will never be able to repay the support and kindness that I received.

“Without the support of the Leukaemia Foundation I doubt I would have survived what I have been through.”

Beating blood cancer

Happily, Mike is in remission and is now enjoying a slower pace of life at his eco-cottage near Eumundi.

“The cottage has a huge deck, perfect for yoga, and I absolutely love it.”

During the end of his years of treatment, Mike spent eight months largely in hospital, eight weeks of it nil by mouth, being fed intravenously. During this time Mike wrote a novel and a screenplay.

“My writing kept me sane during all that gruelling chemo, radiation and the transplant, the side effects of which can really mess with your brain,” he said.

“To the Leukaemia Foundation’s wonderful Support Services staff: a zillion thanks and hugs to match.”

You can help

Help the #31Aussies like Mike who are diagnosed every day with a blood cancer by making a donation today. Your generosity helps us help those who need it the most through free support services and investing in research to find better treatments and work towards a cure.

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