‘My first diagnosis was really hard’
AFTER battling cancer not just once but twice, Southgate teenager Siobhan Hoy knows the importance of the work done by the Leukaemia Foundation, and how important their Blood Cancer co-ordinators are who provide support and information to cancer patients going through a difficult time.
This year Dry July donations topped an incredible $10 million, with more than 38,000 Aussies going dry to raise funds for those affected by cancer, with the Leukaemia Foundation one of 33 beneficiaries receiving funds to assist in helping provide services and utilities to those who have been affected by cancer.
In 2015 Siobhan was a fit and healthy 14-year-old with a few bad bruises and a couple of bloody noses, but a blood test and one phone call later when she was first diagnosed with blood cancer, her life changed completely.
"My first diagnosis was really hard. I didn't want to talk to anyone and felt so embarrassed and ashamed of my illness," the now 19-year-old said.
Siobhan and her family stayed at a Leukaemia Foundation patient accommodation village while she received lifesaving treatment.
"I wouldn't leave the room for anything until my mum convinced me one day to go down to see the Leukaemia Foundation support staff in the office," she said.
"I was introduced to Maryanne, a Blood Cancer Support co-ordinator that Dry July funds helped support and we just clicked straight away."
Siobhan said there was no shame in what she was telling Maryanne, and the pair would talk about all her teenage issues and she would laugh and reassure her through it all.
When Siobhan relapsed in 2019, she felt assured by her first experience with the Leukaemia Foundation, that she would have access to all the supportive care she needed.
"I walked in that first day and said to Maree at the front desk: 'I'm back, buddy, let's do this!'"
Maree and Siobhan's mum, Sally, also became really great friends. They would go walking and work out in the gym together. That was really important for her mum's mental health as well because being a carer is not easy.
Siobhan said she was grateful to the Leukaemia Foundation, for the family she built while staying at the village, and keeps in regular contact with Maree and Maryanne.
"They see you at your best and worst, experiencing every setback and every victory together," she said.
Siobhan is now in remission.