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“Thank you for bringing us together”


A blood cancer diagnosis can be a lonely, isolating time. Our supporters help people going through blood cancer to make connections, talk with others going through the same struggle and build their confidence to take on treatment.

Paul ‘Burt’ Burfield struggled through months of rib and back pain in the lead up to his diagnosis with an incurable blood cancer in early 2018.

“I had a bit of a rollercoaster diagnosis, at one point being told I had lung cancer and two years to live,” remembers Burt. “But in the end, they found out it was blood cancer and I would need a stem cell transplant to survive.”

While Burt and Kelly were given all the medical facts, they were still keen to chat with others who had been through a transplant themselves.

The Burfields connected with Brendan and Roxanne Hodda, who had experienced their own transplant journey when Brendan was diagnosed with leukaemia. The Hodda family also stayed in free-of-charge accommodation during Brendan’s treatment thanks to our generous supporters.

Burt and Kelly on their wedding day
Burt and Kelly on their wedding day with Roxanne as celebrant.

“They really put our minds at ease, answering all the big questions, telling us what to expect and running us through the whole process,” said Burt.

“They were more on our level and could give us insight into all those moments when your doctors or nurses aren’t there. When we were at home and having a bad day – I could just ring them up. Roxy would tell me ‘no, this is totally normal, this is exactly where he needs to be.’ It was so reassuring.”

“Throughout the whole thing Roxy and Brendan have been there – we can’t thank everyone enough for their support and for bringing us together, it’s been invaluable.”

Burt and Kelly travelled to Brisbane for the transplant earlier this year. Their stay in the city was a little easier with access to free Leukaemia Foundation accommodation.

Burt passed through the transplant with flying colours and was back home three weeks later.

Already engaged, it was during Burt’s treatment that Kelly decided to start planning for their wedding.

“And who better to marry us than Roxy? She was already a celebrant, knows exactly what it took for Burt to be here and how special it is that we can all share this together.”

Burt and Kelly were married by Roxanne on 7 June 2019 starting their new life as Mr and Mrs Burfield.

Letter from Roxanne to Burt and Kelly
Letter from Roxanne to Burt and Kelly

Thank you to our supporters for connecting these two families together – you’ve helped build a lifelong friendship and now, happy marriage! This support helps families like these find comfort and knowledge through special connections with their blood cancer peers.

This story was shared for our Lifeblood newsletter and features here as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2019 and World Marrow Donor Day.

Last updated on February 15th, 2022

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.