ON September 28 last year, Valerie Davis and her family received the devastating news that she had stage four metastatic lung cancer and two years to live, at best.
“Leaving the oncologist we felt like we were in a position of hopelessness and we just came home and sobbed,” Mrs Davis, who has never smoked and rarely drinks, said.
Just days later her doctor told the family about a US-based trial run out of St John of God Murdoch Hospital and she became one of just four patients in WA to be part of the immunotherapy program.
Leaving the oncologist we felt like we were in a position of hopelessness and we just came home and sobbed
For the past nine months, Mrs Davis has received the treatment once every three weeks and is already seeing positive results.
But it hasn’t been an easy journey and the mother and grandmother has sought help from Cancer Council WA’s telephone support service.
“I was in the house by myself and I was on the phone for 40 minutes and the woman on the other end was amazing,” Mrs Davis said.
It was this service and Mrs Davis’ 14-year-old granddaughter that inspired her two children, Emma Milner and Brett Davis, to sign up for Dry July and raise money for Cancer Council WA’s telethon support service.
“My brother in law was doing Dry July and sent me a text for a donation,” Mr Davis said.
“I was driving my daughter to school and she said ‘you should do Dry July’ and that night I registered.”
Mrs Milner said they were “that fortunate family” sitting in the treatment room with people who potentially wouldn’t be so lucky.
“Because we are blessed with that, we have to pay it forward,” she said.
“The telephone support service helps patients, carers and family who are desperate for answers or assistance and that’s really important.”
‘The Davis Family’ Dry July team has been together every step of the way.
“I particularly noticed the adoration dad has for mum. It makes you feel lucky to have family like this,” Mr Davis said.