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Stories

From real patient stories to tips on living well, hear firsthand from people who have faced blood cancer.

We’ve also got the latest research and advocacy news, as well as stories from our wonderful fundraisers and donors. You can subscribe to our e-newsletters and event news here.

Theresa Webb: ‘I’ve always been a survivor’

Blood cancer casts a long shadow over many Australian families, but for Theresa Webb and her family, its shadow has been longer than most. Theresa was first diagnosed with blood cancer in 2002 after discovering a small hard lump near her collarbone. A biopsy revealed the then 30-year-old had a type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • Carers
  • Lifestyle and living well
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Theresa with her daughters, Summer and Jessi, on the day of her stem cell transplant

Lorie and Troy were on their way to the GP for results – hours later Lorie was in ICU

In February 2021, Lorie Sarson was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), putting her and husband Troy in immediate financial distress due to treatment and transport costs.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Lorie and Troy

Expert Series: physiotherapist Julie Allen works with cancer patients to improve quality of life and survival

When Julie Allen was diagnosed with lymphoma as a young professional mum, she thought she'd go straight back to work after treatment. But afterwards she literally felt “stripped bare”. 

  • Interviews with experts
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Vicky’s two miracle babies post-treatment

Vicky Pellowe was just 29 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Vicky and her husband had only been married six months, both working long hours as FIFO workers in Western Australia. Vicky speaks about the shock of mental recovery post treatment - how to try and remain positive while experiencing fear of relapse, side effects, potential infertility, body changes and loss of employment or finances. She also speaks about the journey into motherhood and how she was blessed with two miracle babies post treatment, without IVF.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Diagnosed during the pandemic: Renae’s story

Picture this - it was the year 2021 and Melbourne had just come out of its 5th lockdown. Renae and her partner, Sam escaped the 5km radius and went to the beach. Renae remembers feeling a lump in her throat which she thought could have been tonsillitis. One doctor's visit changed Renae's life - she was diagnosed with anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma. Renae talks about what it was like to be diagnosed during the Covid-19 pandemic in Melbourne, and how hospital restrictions impacted her support network during some of the toughest times of her treatment.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Graham’s treatment severely impacted his quality of life

Adelaide man Graham Lewis had two stem-cell transplants and was left with severe graft-versus-host disease. He believes the existence of OCPs would have greatly improved his quality of life.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Robin travelled 1,100km to receive a diagnosis

This episode tells the story of Robin Matthews. Robin is a dump truck diver from the APY Lands in far north South Australia, building roads for Indigenous communities. Robin was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma in 2021, and talks about what it was like to face a diagnosis in a rural area of Australia, just months after losing his wife to cancer. Robin shares how his family gave him strength in his darkest days and how finding a community within the Leukaemia Foundation helped him manage his diagnosis.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Esther considers herself “very lucky” she was diagnosed early

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Christina’s journey as carer

In December 2015, Christina was living in Byron Bay and studying at medical school, when her boyfriend at the time, singer-songwriter Timothy James Bowen was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. In this episode, Christina reflects on how her knowledge as a doctor influenced how she managed her role as a carer, and how her life was impacted by Timothy's diagnosis. She discusses how important family was during this time and how they all rallied together to help Timothy.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Talking Blood Cancer

How blood cancer helped Esther find her authentic self

In 2016, Esther Xu’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Up to that point, Esther had led quite a smooth, high-achieving life, ticking off most of her parents’ wish list. Esther was living in Australia, but is originally from Shanghai in China. Not only did Esther have to deal with the physical effects of a blood cancer diagnosis, she also had to deal with the emotional and cultural complexities.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Talking Blood Cancer

Coping with lymphoma and motherhood

Julie Allen lived with vague symptoms for quite some time – back pain, flu-like symptoms – but she explained these away with her busy life as a physiotherapist and mother of three young kids. But, after a few rounds of antibiotics, things didn't get better. Julie was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Talking Blood Cancer

Expert Series: Dr Piers Blombery on genomic testing

Dr Piers Blombery explains the basics of molecular testing which informs the treatment of blood cancer.   

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Interviews with experts
  • Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Research
  • Treatments and side-effects
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Dr Piers Blombery

Improving infection prevention with drug optimisation

Julian Lindsay’s goal is to set up an international study aimed at improving survival and quality of life through drug optimisation.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Research
  • Treatments and side-effects
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Dr Julian Lindsay

Study examines COVID-19 vaccine response in low-grade lymphoma

An Australian study will examine the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine in patients with the low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Research
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Concord research group

PBAC to consider three lymphoma drugs

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Treatments and side-effects
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Acalabrutinib image

Expert Series: AProf. Michael Dickinson discusses CAR T-cell therapy

Associate Professor Michael Dickinson says CAR T-cell therapy is a 'revolutionary step forward'.

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Interviews with experts
  • Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Research
  • Treatments and side-effects
Read more
A/Prof. Dickinson enjoying gelato with his daughters in Melbourne

Reconciliation Week

We stand with Indigenous Australians to close the gap in health. We know we need to do better for our First Nations people living with blood cancer.

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Other blood cancers
  • Support services
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Artwork created by Reconciliation Australia to mark Reconciliation Week

My COVID-19 vaccine experience

Blood cancer survivor and midwife, Catherine Wheeler shares her experience being eligible for the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Catherin Wheeler

“Blood cancer was my physical diagnosis but my experience was a far greater mental challenge.”

When diagnosed with a blood cancer as a young adult, Vicky Pellowe struggled to find the relevant information she needed to manage her diagnosis and live well as a survivor.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Vicky with her daughter and husband_feature

“You come back, and you get back into life” – that’s how Patrick lives with two lymphomas

Patrick won't let his lymphomas stop him from achieving his two milestones - to walk 10 kilometres, and to swim 200 metres butterfly!

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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Patrick-Devine-blood-cancer-australia