WHEN South Guilford resident Deanne O’Brien was diagnosed with leukaemia in October 2015 her world was turned upside-down.
The shock of the diagnosis came when her husband Dean was working a five week on, five week off FIFO roster up north and the couple’s three small children were all under the age of four.
With the family still reeling from the news, Mrs O’Brien began chemotherapy and radiotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant.
During one of their many visits to hospital, Cancer Council WA’s support line was recommended to the O’Briens by the wife of a patient in the same ward.
Mrs O’Brien said deciding to call the service opened up a world of support.
“The cancer nurses were always friendly, always supportive and made sure to give me all of the information I needed,” she said.
It was through the support line that she was able to access free services for people affected by cancer, their carers and families.
“Mum and dad helped with looking after the children while Dean was away at work but I had been told not to do any gardening or housework whilst undergoing treatment – that’s when I accessed the practical support services.
“I had cleaners, lawn mowers and gardeners come out to help which made a big difference.
“I also used the financial assistance and had my will done through the free legal assistance.”
Cancer Council WA also offers a range of therapies to complement conventional cancer treatment.
“The nurses put me in touch with the Cancer Support Centre in Midland where I did reiki, massage and lovely things like that,” she said.
“After treatment I joined the exercise program and yoga classes which definitely helped to improve my energy.”
This year, money raised through Dry July – a fundraiser that challenges participants to go booze-free for a month – will go towards Cancer Council WA’s 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line.
Apart from the many health benefits of giving up alcohol for a month – sleeping better, having more energy, improved mental health and even weight loss – the funds will ensure the support line continues to be accessible to all West Australians affected by cancer.
To participate in Dry July and support the Cancer Council WA sign up at dryjuly.com