Just the medicine

FAMILY, friends and even strangers have rallied behind a Craigie man battling an aggressive brain tumour.

Stuart Pollock was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma multiforme in May 2011 after suffering a grand mal seizure.

He has undergone radiation therapy, chemotherapy and three operations to remove the tumour, with long periods of being well, but his condition worsened late last year.

Friends of the Pollocks started fundraising online in October to raise money for an operation by neurosurgeon Charlie Teo, but in January it was revealed the tumour had grown and the only treatment option was the drug Avastin.

It is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the four required treatments would cost $30,000. If doctors believe it is working, more treatments would then be funded.

More than 100 supporters helped the Pollocks raise $30,000 within three months and Mr Pollock received his first treatment in January.

“It blew my mind to find out so many people care enough to do that,” he said.

Mr Pollock’s wife Sue said not many people with the same type of tumour as her husband survived beyond two years.

“We’ve gone nearly four-and-a-half, five years and unfortunately the little bugger keeps popping its head up,” she said.

“This wonder drug that’s cost us the amount of money it has, there are really good outcomes if it works and at the moment they will only be able to tell by looking at him physically, because he’s had so many operations and has scar tissue in his head.”

Despite his diagnosis and being unable to go out with daughters Kaisee (13) and Tianna (17) as he used to, Mr Pollock remains positive.

“Obviously at times you do get ‘why me?’ but I try never to look at it like that,” he said.

“It could have been my daughter, so in that regard I’ve never looked at it in an angry way. I’ve just looked at it as that’s what happens, that’s just life.

“I don’t have a real way of dealing with it; I certainly don’t get angry by it because that’s not going to get me anywhere, that’s not going to help.

“I basically try to stay as calm as I can.”

Mrs Pollock said when they were initially told the treatment cost, they were overwhelmed.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have all these gorgeous people but what if you’re somebody who can’t afford it, does that mean they don’t get it and don’t get that chance?” she said.

“It’s thanks to everyone that we’ve actually been able to do it and not have to mortgage our house or sell things.”

She said friends were continuing to fundraise to cover other costs such as potential future treatments and modifications to the home.

“If this doesn’t work, we’re still going to have to go on to some trial drugs and stuff like that so we don’t know what sort of money we’re looking at there, but we’ll do what we can while Stu can still handle it,” she said.

“Until you’re doing it, you don’t how strong you are.

“I have got a gorgeous family; we’re very resilient and we’re very close, the four of us.”

Mr Pollock said he felt confident about the new treatment.

“We’ll get through this one like we did the last one,” he said.

To donate, visit gofundme.com/8e597w6w.