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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.

Lorie Sarson and her husband Troy Broadhurst
Lorie Sarson and her husband Troy Broadhurst

Navigating a blood cancer diagnosis was not how Lorie Sarson and Troy Broadhurst expected to begin their 2021.  

At the beginning of the year, Lorie was experiencing symptoms of depression and visited her GP to apply for a mental health plan.  

“She wanted to do a blood test and mentioned that I didn’t look physically well at all,” says Lorie. 

“I was meant to return the following week for the results, but we never made it back. She met us halfway [between the clinic and home] and said ‘get to the hospital’.”  

Just like that, Lorie and Troy found themselves navigating a shock blood cancer diagnosis as they made their way to the Bendigo Cancer Centre. 

Hours after a routine visit to the GP, Lorie found herself in intensive care. 

After Lorie was stabilised, she was moved into a different ward to begin chemotherapy. Eventually, Lorie and Troy faced a 40-minute commute to and from Bendigo several times a week for treatment.

“We found ourselves needing to commute from Inglewood to Bendigo quite regularly, which is nearly 90 minutes up and back. It became very difficult,” says Troy. 

They eventually found a rental property in Bendigo so they could be close to the hospital. However, while their problems were eased logistically, rental costs loaded more financial pressure on. 

Lorie needed to receive further treatment at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, increasing travel to and from appointments. 

“We just managed to get a house in Bendigo which was close to the hospital, and then we found ourselves needing to do trip after trip to Melbourne for stem cell harvesting,” says Troy. 

Lorie and Troy at a family lunch just days before commencing treatment
Lorie and Troy at a family lunch just days before commencing treatment

Lorie and Troy found themselves needing to put another roof over their heads in Melbourne, that’s when they were referred to the Leukaemia Foundation. 

“Peter Mac wanted us to stay in Melbourne, and that’s when the Leukaemia Foundation really got involved,” says Troy. “They found us accommodation and organised fuel vouchers for us. Without that help, I wouldn’t know what we would have done. There’s no way we could have paid for rent in Melbourne.” 

Fuel vouchers eased the financial burden for Troy, who was still living in Bendigo for work. He needed to travel to and from Melbourne every two days. 

Having a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator from the Leukaemia Foundation proactively reaching out made a huge difference. 

Lorie and Troy
Lorie and Troy after Lorie’s stem cell transplant at the end of last year

“We hate asking for help,” says Lorie “If people ask us how we’re going, we just say ‘yeah good, thanks’. That’s why Jo from the Leukaemia Foundation was such a big help. She was constantly messaging and reminding us that the Leukaemia Foundation was there for us.” 

Jo provided much needed emotional support for the couple, helping them navigate the heavy mental toll.

After undergoing a stem cell transplant in November 2022, Lorie is in remission. 

When asked about what they’re expecting for 2023 and beyond, Lorie’s answer is simple.  

“To be a lot better than the last four years,” she says. 

“Our whole attitude and outlook [on life] has completely changed over the last 12 months. We’ve just been grateful for every day that we’ve been given, and now we’ve got a grandchild! We’re doing things for us for once, not for everyone else.” 

After experiencing how valuable and life-changing emotional support can be for somebody experiencing hardship, Lorie and Troy have decided to give back to the industry that helped them. They are both commencing Certificate III in Community Services. 

“We want to give back and support other people that are going through not only cancer, but any mental hardship that we’ve had experience in,” Troy says. “We’d like to help other people get through what we got through.” 

Do you or somebody else require support from the Leukaemia Foundation? You can connect with us by filling out the below form, and a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator will be in touch.  

If you or someone you know is living with blood cancer, please fill out this form.

Healthcare professionals wanting to refer a patient, please complete this referral form.