TIBAH’S FAMILY GO DRY IN JULY TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE PA

Gary and Melissa O'Brien are currently going without alcohol for a whole month to raise funds to help cancer patients being treated at the PA Hospital (PAH) - one of whom is their 19-year-old son Tibah.

The Morningside based parents are undertaking Dry July this year to raise funds for the PA's cancer ward where Tibah is currently being treated for testicular cancer.

According to Gary, Tibah's love of basketball played a part in his cancer being picked up when it did.

"He'd played basketball on a Sunday night and fell over on his wrist, and he came home and mentioned this to his mother, the next day he gave her a call and said can you make me a doctor's appointment, Melissa asked is your wrist ok, to which Tibah replied not really, but my right testis is four times the size of my left one and it really hurts," Gary said.

"He went to the doctors, and they gave him a referral for an ultrasound appointment, and Tibah, loving his basketball made that appointment for the next day in the afternoon because the next morning he had Swooper Hoopers, where he helps out with coaching young kids through the Swooper Hoopers program at Coomera.

"He went down to Swooper Hoopers, and only lasted about half an hour, and he ended up going to the Gold Coast Hospital thanks to a teammate and coach where they did an ultrasound and obviously found a tumour and sent him for a CT scan.

"His mum and I were at work and drove down there to give him a lift back to save him driving. We picked him up and got a bite to eat and were driving back letting the family know that he has a tumour.

"During the night we'd missed some calls from a private number and when Tibah woke up he had the same missed calls with a message saying get to emergency immediately. This was devastating news as it was a big unknown to us."

The family rushed Tibah to the emergency department at Brisbane's Mater Hospital where his diagnosis was confirmed and Tibah was operated on. Tibah was then transferred over to the Oncology Ward at the PAH for further treatment under the guidance of Dr Rick Walker.

Tibah is now seven weeks into chemotherapy treatment at the PAH with his cancer unfortunately having spread to other parts of his body, however Gary said he has been proud of the resilience his son has shown through what has been one of the toughest times in his young life.

"He's doing a great job I must admit, he is taking it in his stride and staying upbeat and positive," he said.

"He gets down to basketball at the North Gold Coast Seahawks anytime he can even if it is just sitting on the sideline helping to coach, he does that whenever he feels well and up to the drive. The Seahawks community have been amazing and very supportive, on occasion they have even taken the time to drive him home when he has hit a wall. They keep him motivated and positive and safe."

"Treatment wise all the feedback we're getting from the doctor is that he is doing really well."

The first class treatment and care his son has received during his visits for chemotherapy at the PAH was what prompted the family's decision to undertake Dry July.

"They're fantastic, all the nurses are just great people and so is Rick, everyone there has been really good and helpful" he said.

"Tibah and ourselves wanted to give back, and I joined up and read that you can actually make a team and get other people to join, so my wife got involved and we formed a team and went from there.

"It's just our way of saying thanks to everyone at the PA for all they've done for Tibah."

Gary said he took comfort knowing the funds raised through Dry July would go towards patient support initiatives that benefit cancer patients at the PAH, like Tibah, and was full of gratitude for everyone who had donated so far, which included families from Tibah's beloved basketball club the North Gold Coast Seahawks, family members, work colleagues and friends.

"Tibah has noticed people in treatment less fortunate than he is and really wanted to give back a little to help both the patients and staff and to say thank you."

You can donate to support the O'Brien's Dry July efforts here.

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

$30,501.14 raised

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