Siobhan was just 14 years old when she was first diagnosed with blood cancer in 2015.
“I was a fit, healthy teenager with a few bad bruises and a couple of bloody noses,” said the now 19-year-old. “A blood test and one phone call later and my life changed completely.”
Siobhan and her family stayed at a Leukaemia Foundation Patient Accommodation Village while she received life-saving treatment.
“My first diagnosis was really hard. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and felt so embarrassed and ashamed of my illness,” remembers Siobhan.
“I wouldn’t leave the room for anything until my mum convinced me one day to go down to see the Leukaemia Foundation support staff in the office.
“I was introduced to Maryanne, a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator you help to fund, and we just clicked straight away.
“There was no shame in what I was telling her. We would talk about all my teenage issues and she would laugh and reassure me through it all.”
When Siobhan relapsed in 2019, she felt assured by her first experience with the Leukaemia Foundation, knowing she would have access to all the supportive care she needed.
“I walked in that first day and said to Maree at the front desk: ‘I’m back, buddy, let’s do this!’,” laughs Siobhan.
“Maree and my mum, Sally, also became really great friends. They would go walking and work out in the gym together.
“That was really important for my mum’s mental health as well because being a carer is not easy.”
Siobhan is grateful to you for the family she built while staying at the village and keeps in regular contact with Maree and Maryanne.
“They see you at your best and worst, experiencing every setback and every victory together.
“I consider them my lifelong friends and actually really miss them now as happy as I am to be getting on with my life.”
Siobhan is now in remission – and we miss her, too!