MAT Aylmore should be planning a nursery for his first child with wife Maddie, but instead he is battling cancer at draining chemotherapy sessions.
When Maddie should have started maternity leave, she was rushing her young husband to hospital in extreme pain to learn he had aggressive lymphoma.
The Dayton residents have been together for nine years and said they fell in love during their time at Lockridge Senior High School, where they attended the school ball together.
Roof plumber Mat (26) noticed the first signs of an autoimmune disease at age 15 – itchiness – and when he was 20 years old testing confirmed the diagnosis.
“I just deteriorated over that year, it was an autoimmune disease where my body is trying to fix itself and leaves scar tissue, it ruined my liver,” he said.
“When they did open him up when he got the liver, they didn’t realise how bad it was, they said ‘you had three days to live’,” Maddie (25) said.
Mat had a liver transplant in 2011 which led to a “few good years” for the couple and included buying their first home.
Despite Mat developing Crohn’s disease and ulcer colitis last year, the young couple got married in January .
At the wedding, they announced to surprised guests that they were pregnant, a “miracle” due to Mat’s medication and immune suppressants and Maddie’s polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis.
However, their bliss was short-lived after Mat suffered severe abdominal pain around Easter and was admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner.
“They said I had an aggressive lymphoma; that was a bit of a shock,” he said.
The cancer diagnosis meant he had his bowel removed.
“Now I’ve got a stoma and a bag. I had the operation on the Sunday and had chemo on the Wednesday and Thursday,” he said.
He left hospital on Anzac Day and faces four to six months of further chemotherapy.
Maddie, a teacher at Durham Road School in Bayswater, said the stress of Mat’s illness on both of them had been “horrible”.
“I’m 30 weeks pregnant, I’ve lost track to be honest, I forgot I was pregnant the other day,” she said.
“All the planning of the nursery and everything else has kind of just gone out the window.”
Maddie said a low point this month was working out how to pay for mortgage, bills and loan repayments while the pair was not working.
“We were in the high dependency unit, he was hooked up to everything and I was making phone calls trying to see if our insurance would cover anything,” she said.
“One after the other said ‘no’ and I thought ‘what are we going to do?’.”
Sister Emma Clifton came to the rescue and set up a Go Fund Me page, raising a whopping $42,945 in 13 days.
“The Go Fund Me page went up and it said $800, I just thought ‘we can pay our next mortgage (repayment)’,” Maddie said.
“We’ve had strangers donate; it’s amazing.
“Even reading the messages, there are some beautiful people out there.”