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Personal cancer story

Barry Du Bois

I had been putting up with persistent neck pain for months when a trip to the beach changed everything. I was enjoying a Christmas surf with my brother and nephew when, after going under a big wave, I heard a sharp crack in my neck. The sound, and pain that followed, made me realise that this injury was more serious than the building-related ache I had thought it was.

Barry du Bois

I didn't know it at the time but that crack was the last of my c1 vertebrae caving in. It took another three months of tests to find out that the cause of the snap was actually cancer. I was diagnosed in 2010 with plasmacytoma myeloma, a cancer of the immune system which attacks healthy bone marrow and destroyed the vertebra at the top of my spine.

Once the doctors stabilised my neck and I'd had extensive surgery, I started radiotherapy. Being a middle aged, healthy and strong man, I took the highest level of radiotherapy that you can take. This treatment saved my life. I was scheduled to start chemotherapy and was monitored bi-monthly. I did have chemotherapy in 2018. 

The disease is still in my body, it's not something that will go away and I'll never be cured of it, but it's something that me, my wife and my team of doctors will continue to manage for the rest of my life.

After my treatment I realised how lucky I am and I felt I had to give something back."

Barry Du Bois

My journey from diagnosis to where I am now has been incredible. I realised really quickly that cancer can stop you in a hurry.

The most important thing that has happened to me is the birth of my twins, Bennett and Arabella. I feel that life has started again since their birth. Staying positive and spending time watching them grow is a priority for me now. It's a beautiful time for me.

After my treatment I realised how lucky I am and I felt I had to give something back. I've been an ambassador for Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea for the last few years. Australia's Biggest Morning Tea is a fun and easy way to raise money to fund cancer.

research, prevent and control cancer, and provide information and support for people, like me, affected by cancer.

I wouldn't be here without the excellent treatment I received. I'm living proof that every dollar and every cup counts.

Barry Du Bois is a TV presenter, master builder and renovator who presents on Network Ten's The Living Room.

Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer