Personal cancer story
About three years ago Mum was pushing for me to see a doctor because she sensed something wasn't right. I'd been putting it off, but deep down also had a feeling that there was something wrong. The doctors found an abnormality in my spine. I was scared and confused.
After the next visit, I was told there was a very large tumour throughout my spinal cord. I had surgery straight away. I was initially in hospital for four weeks and unable to move from the chest down.
From there I was transferred to Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre to learn how to live as a paraplegic. I was determined to become skilled enough to drive a modified car, like some other paraplegics, and so I attended physio daily and worked really hard.
A couple of months into rehab I went for another MRI and was told the tumour had spread to my brain. For the best possible outcome, my doctors spoke to experts all over the world about my type of cancer. I was put through intensive radiation. I also began taking chemotherapy pills, which I'm still on today, all the while having regular blood tests, sometimes daily.
I'd been putting it off, but deep down also had a feeling that there was something wrong."
Over the past three years I have spent over 18 months in and out of hospitals for ongoing treatment. During this time, we have also held some very successful Australia's Biggest Morning Teas to support Cancer Council SA, even while I was in hospital, and we raised a lot of money while having a lot of fun.
I was studying international tourism at uni, but have had to take a break. I'm looking forward to returning to study and completing a shorter event management course sometime. In the meantime I still work once a week, when I'm well enough, where I get to see my friends. This means a great deal to me and gives me a sense of independence and normality.
In the past, long before I was sick, my mum organised the annual Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon stands at Flinders University and I volunteered with her while we were both studying there. These fundraising activities are so important as they not only raise much needed cancer research dollars but send a message of hope to people like me across Australia. You never know, one day the life you save through your support could be your own, just like what happened to me.
Emma sadly passed away on 9 March 2016. Emma's courage and positive attitude remain an inspiration to all of us at Cancer Council.
Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer