Friends bond through tough time

As close as sisters: Zakia Smith and Sara Dilley.
Picture: Martin Kennealey   d449304
As close as sisters: Zakia Smith and Sara Dilley. Picture: Martin Kennealey d449304

Single mum Zakia Smith, of Currambine, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. Doctors said she had about two years to live.

Ms Dilley started fundraising online three months ago for her and daughter Jazmine (4) to enjoy a Gold Coast holiday.

“It’s been a dream to go to the Gold Coast,” Ms Smith said. “I also want to see the dolphins and swim with the dolphins. It’s about making as many memories as we can.”

Ms Smith was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 18 and three years ago doctors found it had returned.

She now has seven tumours around her body, including in her liver and spine.

“I try to stay as positive as I can,” she said. “I manage every day as it comes. I just think, ‘get through this next week or the next stage’ and live every day.”

Ms Smith was already a carer for her dad when he was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but still counts herself as lucky.

“I’m luckier than most, there’s always people worse off than you are,” she said.

“Sometimes I just want to stay in bed and don’t want to face the world; I wish I was normal, my body was normal. But it puts things into perspective.”

Ms Dilley herself was diagnosed with cancer at around the same time as her friend’s relapse. She has aggressive dermal fibromatosis but said her illness was under control.

She said her own condition strengthened her relationship with Ms Smith.

“We are more like sisters now than friends; we count each other as family,” she said. “She’s been incredible; she always has a smile on her face, even if she’s having the worst possible day.

“She’s always ready to put everyone else first.”

She said about $6000 had been raised for Ms Smith’s holiday but was aiming for $20,000. “I don’t want her to have to worry or stress about anything,” she said.

“I want the days she feels good to go and make those memories with her daughter and partner. I just want to her to be happy and have as much fun as she can.”

Ms Smith said she was overwhelmed when told about the fundraising. “I was shocked and I cried,” she said.

“The generosity, everyone is so good, I can’t say thankyou enough.”

She said her wish was to create as many memories as possible with her daughter while she was able.

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