WHEN Sharyn Polce was first diagnosed with the Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), it was only two weeks after her 40th birthday.
The diagnosis was life-changing and came just months after losing her best friends’ child to leukaemia.
Six years later Sharyn, a single mother of two from Perth, is still battling the disease and is now taking part in a ‘first in human’ trial with world leading Adelaide CML specialist Dr Timothy Hughes.
The trial is Sharyn’s fifth round of chemotherapy. All other forms of treatment have failed – and her only other chance for a cure – a stem cell transplant, is currently impossible. Out of the millions of people on the National Bone Marrow Registry, not one is a match.
The trial was Sharyn’s only option – and she had to relocate to Adelaide to be part of it. But, after having lived with cancer for six years, Sharyn had been unable to work and had already sold her house. Money for accommodation and transport was tight.
That’s where the Leukaemia Foundation in Adelaide stepped in.
Sharyn and partner Troy Pegrum relocated from Perth into a unit at the Bridgestone Australia Leukaemia Foundation Village in Lightsview, Adelaide. An amazing, purpose built patient accommodation and support facility which opened in 2013.
The village is a home away from home for regional patients like Sharyn forced to relocate to capital cities for vital treatment – since opening the village has provided more than 10,000 nights to patients and their families.
“Without the Leukaemia Foundation there was just no way we could afford to be here. Without this village we would have nowhere to go and it’s just scary to think about that,” Sharyn says.
“Because your life depends on these drugs and the trial, you’ve got no choice. You are basically hoping that these drugs save your life, and kill your cancer, before it kills you.”
“If we weren’t here I know I would be at home very, very sick – and know I would eventually be dying.”
“We’ve fought some fights with this stupid disease – but in the six years the leukaemia foundation has just been incredible.”
Sharyn is one just one of more than 60,000 Australians currently living with blood cancer or a related blood disorder. More than 13,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with blood cancer in 2016.
This is equivalent to one person diagnosed every 41 minutes, or 35 people every day.
So when the last two Holden Cruzes rolled off the Adelaide production line on October 9 and were generously donated to the Leukaemia Foundation – Sharyn was right behind the foundation’s decision to run a raffle to help raise funds to continue to support blood cancer patients just like her.
The Cruze raffle is another chapter to Holden’s long partnership and support for the foundation. For many years Holden has helped provide cars to support the organisation’s transport fleet which takes patients like Sharyn to vital medical appointments.
In the last three years alone, the Leukaemia Foundation’s patient transport services have driven more than 667,200 kilometres – more than 16 times around the world.
Funds raised from the raffle will also help support people like Sharyn through other key services like providing emotional support and education services.
Help the Leukaemia Foundation continue its Vision to Cure, Mission To Care: Buy a Hold Cruze raffle ticket.