Brisbane doctor Mellissa is one of our Dry July supporters. She was 37-years-old and the mother of two girls under the age of four in 2013, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that changed her life.
“July is a significant month for me – this year it marks 8 years since I was diagnosed with cancer so I’m going Dry in July again… Mummy’s wish provided practical support to me & my young family when we needed it most, so I know firsthand the difference this organisation makes.”
Mellissa shared her cancer journey with us.
“I had come back from maternity leave, passed my specialist exams and landed in my dream job, so it felt like it was my time now and then that was ripped away,” she said. “It was such a hard thing to hear.”
“As a doctor I’ve been on the other side of that conversation and never anticipated that I’d be on the receiving end or what it would feel like. I was truly in shock. I was a busy working mum and I didn’t think I was at risk.”
As the reality of the diagnosis evolved Mellissa felt her life descend into a sort of chaos. Between chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and looking after two young girls, the family was struggling; until they heard about Mummy’s Wish. “I’d been so incredibly self sufficient before and it was so scary for me to think about how I would manage,” Mellissa said.
“The first practical thing Mummy’s Wish did was empathise and understand. It helped to hear them say it’s hard being a Mum anyway but to be a Mum with cancer is even harder, but there are things we can help with.”
Mummy’s Wish organises practical support like house cleaning and gardening, helping families navigate day to day life and allowing them to focus their attention on getting through the treatment regime. For Mellissa and her family, it was also helping them to retain childcare places for their daughters Maya and Lata.
“With the loss of my income and with a 2 and 3 year old we were worried about how we would cope when I was sick and James had to work,” Mellissa said. “Mummy’s Wish helped us understand what support was available and apply for hardship provisions so we could maintain a day or two so I could rest while I was going through treatment. I wouldn’t even have known to ask for that.”
In addition to these services, Mummy’s Wish also provides Care Packs that include comfort bears, therapeutic books and resources.
“The comfort bears and resources for kids were invaluable in helping us explain what was happening to them and cope as a family. The girls still treasure their bears,” Mellissa said.
“When we did see Mum sometimes she was a bit sad or she didn’t feel like talking too much. We visited her in hospital. Sometimes the best thing was to let her rest.”
“She made these bears and she sung our songs into them and at the end they said ‘goodnight Maya’ ‘goodnight Lata’ and I really liked that” said her daughter Maya, 10.
As a national organisation that does not receive any government funding, Mummy’s Wish is able to provide support thanks to the generosity of donors.
“I remember Mum going into her last surgery and the relief that this was going to be her last surgery. I remember it felt like bricks lifting off my back” said Maya.
You can change a life by supporting mums like Mellissa today.