Hi, we need your help! Our friend Beverley Gouws needs to return to Australia to be with her family!
Aside from being the most genuine, selfless, giving person you could ever hope to meet (and in our opinion, an asset to Australia), Beverley is a stage 4 malignant, metastatic Melanoma patient who has gone into remission (she’s been clear for 4 years now). She has three beautiful children and two gorgeous grandchildren, all of whom live in Brisbane and this is where her problems start. She doesn’t have a Visa and needs to apply for a new Spouse’s Visa.
Bev always puts her family before herself, and to give them a chance at a better life, she encouraged her family to emigrate to Australia, even though she couldn’t get permanent residency herself. The cancer meant she could only visit her family on a temporary Visa. But she made them take the opportunity and move anyway. She even had to divorce her husband just for the sake of the paperwork!
Bev has been traveling between Australia and South Africa for the last 6 years on a Visitor’s visa to spend as much time as she could with her children. The Australian Embassy might refer to these as visitational visas, but she only refers to them as limited life visas. You see, she is not like the normal visitor who visits Australia for the sake of visiting their family - Bev’s family never knows which goodbye, will be the last goodbye.
She returned to South Africa on the 7 June 2018. She was required to apply for a new visitational visa and also have her latest CT scan and blood results checked. She received the awesome news that her CT scans were clear as the years before, so this makes her four years tumour free but that is not long enough to satisfy Immigration!
She lodged for another visitational visa but this time, received a letter stating that her visa was declined, even though she had stuck to all the rules and regulations. It is utterly gut wrenching when you know you are safe from cancer, but the rules are so unfair. Bev knows she is safe to return, but the children are worried there is something wrong!
How does any mum cope with saying so many Goodbyes and Hellos? Her children are distraught at not having their mother with them. They need her here.
So, the only alternative is to apply for a Spouse’s Visa, because she still has a husband (despite the paper divorce). But this costs over $7000 with legal costs plus the airfare, which she simply cannot afford.
We need to come up with $15,000 and therefore ask for any donations to help her be with her family again.
The funds will be used to cover the VISA Application cost, a plane ticket home for Beverley and some small medical costs that the family have accumulated, and lastly any money left over will be donated to Melanoma Cancer Research charities in Australia on behalf of Beverley.
Please help BRING BEV HOME by donating what you can and sharing her story.
Jay says, “Bev is a fantastic, hands-on mother who would do anything for her kids. She’s the most wonderful, energetic person I know and inspires me with her positive outlook on life despite her battle with melanoma. I love her and miss her dearly. Please help bring her back to her friends and family.”
Sonya says, “Bev has taught me a lot about life. Primarily – how to live it. Value what we have, live with gratitude, release external expectations and pressures. Bev is incredibly strong. She’s lived through hell. How do you say goodbye to your children, not knowing if it will be for the last time, and still remain sane? Although my heart is with Bev, and I miss her being nearby, I ache for her children who need her here. Growing up is tough enough, without having been through what they’ve been through. Bev is a good, honest, hardworking citizen who adds value to our community and wouldn’t think of being a drain on our resources. She spreads love and joy where-ever she goes, and we need her in our lives – personally! Please find a few dollars to donate to help reunite this family. Thank you xo”
Bev Handley says, “From the moment I met Bev (she became my new neighbour) we just clicked, and I can honestly say that she is one of the most positive, and selfless people I have ever had the privilege to know. Unlike many of us who can sometimes take life and our families a little for granted, Bev has been living with a death sentence hanging over her head, because statistically she should have passed away by 2012! Her family is her world, especially her children and grandchildren, and in the past, it has been so hard, as her friend, to hear her considering the fact that she may not live to see them grow up & graduate from school, leave home, get married etc. And now that she has made it this far, and is still cancer free, it’s even worse to think that even after beating this horrible disease, she still may not be able to be here for her kids.”
Bev has been an asset to our community… not only has she done a lot to help her local church and volunteered at our children’s school, but she also takes part in small women’s support groups by offering a listening ear, and support on an emotional and spiritual level. She honestly is the most inspirational person you could ever hope to meet, and her faith is stronger than that of anyone I know. When faced with the impossible, she always rises to the occasion and trusts that God, the Angels and the Universe has her back.
So if you’ve read this far… please take a moment to share Bev’s story, and if able, donate a little to help us make it possible to bring her home to her family and friends in Australia.
From the bottom of our hearts… Thank you!
Read Beverley's full story here:
Hi, my name is Beverley Jean Gouws.
I am a stage 4 malignant, metastatic Melanoma patient. I was first diagnosed in 2005 with my primary lesion on my back-left hand shoulder. I had it cut out and the Dr and plastic surgeon assured me they had cut enough margins to make sure that it would not come back. So, I lived my life as a happy mommy and wife. I have three beautiful children and two lovely grandchildren. All of who now stay in Brisbane.
My story started back in 2005 when I had to go see the Dr after my third child was born. I had a mole that just got bigger and bigger with each pregnancy. Once my daughter was born in January 2005 I was so busy been a new mommy I never realised how big the mole had gotten on my back. So, to the dermatologist I went and they cut the mole out. It was not until 2009 preparing for a birthday party that I realised I had developed a huge lump under my left armpit. I saw my gp the next week and was told to just take antibiotics as it was a blocked sweat gland. I still had an argument with him and told him that with my history I was a bit concerned but never thought the cancer would be back.
I never ended up taking the antibiotic but demanded he sent me for a sonar. I went in for the sonar only to be told that I needed somebody to come be by my side when I received the results. My aunt who works in the hospital was there and I went up to her ward with the envelope. This is when I thank God for his blessings shown to me by putting the right people on my path at the right time. She had a look at the results and immediately rung up the surgeon that she deals with. We waited for my husband to arrive from work and we both went up to the surgeon’s rooms with my aunt. We were told by the surgeon that he would be operating the next day to remove the lump and test for what he thought was stage 2 melanoma cancer. This all happened so fast I was taken into theatre the next morning and an incision with 30 staples was made and the size of a billiard ball was removed from under my arm.
I was then sent by the Dr for an another ct scan to determine if the cancer had spread into the lymph glands. The next morning my results arrived only to be told that I had to undergo another operation to remove all the lymph glands behind my left rib cage. I had to first recover from the first operation under my arm (its so funny cause I was petrified to have my 30 staples removed from under my arm, so I insisted they take them out while I was under antithetic for my next op. So while been wheeled in to theatre my aunt made a big note on my chest with a arrow pointing to my staples.)
I can laugh about it now but at that stage I have never been more serious and worried about the pain. Little did I know that by 2014 I would have undergone so many more operations and so much more pain compared to 30 staples.
All my lymph glands were removed, and the results came back from the biopsy that the glands had all got melanoma in them. I was then taken back into theatre and a chemo port was inserted into my right chest this enabled them to administrate chemo for a period of a year. They had to start chemo as soon as possible not even giving me chance to recover from my operation, as they needed to stop it from spreading. I ended my chemo in the beginning of December 2010. I had fought this fight and won but still having to have my check ups and ct scans every three months. In the meantime, our whole family had completed forms to immigrate to Australia. This was going to be a new start and a safer place for my children to grow up. The economy was taking a dip at once stage and our immigration application was put on hold.
A year later the embassy contacted my husband to ask him if he still wanted to immigrate. Of course, our answer was yes as we could see no future for our children here in South Africa. So, we carried on with the application for immigration. I was showing no signs of the melanoma reappearing at each ct scan I was going too. Our lawyer informed us that we would not be able to carry on with the application due to the fact that my melanoma had reappeared in 2009. I thought long and hard about the situation as I would be the only one holding the whole family back from moving forward. I contacted my oncologist, surgeon, physician and all could not give me a time limit to my life (as melanoma can run through your whole body at any time). So, my future looked very bleak for an Australian permanent residency. I then decided with the help of our lawyer that it would be best for me to divorce my husband and let him and the children move forward to Australia.
I applied for the divorce after explaining to my family and friends why I was doing this. Once the divorce was granted (weeks) the Australian embassy received the new documents for my husband and children and was granted permanent residency within six months. I was so excited for them as my husband was taking my three children over for a better future. We packed up and made all the arrangements for them to leave on the first of April 2012. I was going to follow three weeks later on a visitational visa. I decided to go for my three month ct scan in the March, so it gave me peace of mind that I could book my ticket and apply for my visitational visa. Knowing that all my previous scans were good I never would have guessed any different. I received my results only to be told by my oncologist that I had a right pulmonary metastatic lesion in my right lung. These lesions had to be operated on asap. We had +- four weeks left before my husband and children left for Australia. I did ask the Dr to wait before he operated for them to be out the country, but he refused, and he operated on me a week later and a week before my husband and kids left for Australia. I was released from hospital the night before my children and husband left to go start their new life in Australia.
That night we all slept in one room, me my kids and my now divorced husband. The following day I said goodbye to them as my mom and sister in law took them to the airport. I knew that this was a lie (divorce) to get my family into Australia but I needed to see them safe and our biggest Dream come true even though I could not be apart of it. Once I recovered from my operation I applied for a visitor’s visa and received a three-month visa. I returned after three months and had my scan which was all in order with my recovery and no melanoma was found. I therefore applied for a longer visa and was given a three-year visa. I returned back to Australia where I looked after my children and (ex) husband. Initially I had to return every three months then every six months for my ct scan and medical treatments in South Africa.
In the beginning of 2014 I started to feel very Drained and very tired. I was falling asleep at any time of the day. It got so bad that I ended up going to see my local doctor for advice. She did an x-ray and found a tumour large enough to show up on a normal x ray in my smaller intestines. I also had a full blood count and had to receive four pints of blood before I could fly back to South Africa for an emergency operation. I was then diagnosed with stage four BRAF V600 ENRAS non-mutated melanoma. I had a friend flying back to South Africa with me and she had to keep me awake right through the whole fight which was 17 hours. I could not fall asleep because I would off have gone into a coma due to lack of blood.
I was admitted to hospital as soon as I landed and was operated on once I was stable. The surgeon had never seen such a huge tumour that had not burst at the size it was. They cut me from my sternum to my pubic bone and when I woke up in ICU I could not even count all the staples that held me together. The thought of my children and (ex) husband in Australia kept me going. I have never experienced such pain and would never wish this pain on my worst enemy. Once I was discharged from ICU to a normal ward they find out that the melanoma cancer had gone into my stomach fluids. This was plus minus a week and a half after my operation and I was rushed back into theatre staples removed and a vac put in to close my cut. (a vac is a cotton type substance which is packed into a open cut and vacuumed closed, this was removed and replaced every three days until my wound healed.)
My family was brought together while I was still in hospital and was informed by my doctors that there was nothing more they can do for me and it was a matter of time before I got another tumour and that they would not be able to operate on the stomach area again. I had to phone my husband in Australia and give him the bad news. We had to also tell our three children how bad the cancer had run. This was one of the hardest things I have had to do as I am their mommy and wife, but God answered my prayers to be with my children and husband again. My oncologist came to see me just before I was discharged to inform me that there might be a chance to get me on a trial medication that would increase my life expectancy for plus minus five years. I was granted a position in the trial for Ipilimumab. I received four cycles of ipilimumab on an expanded access programme that I tolerated well. In that year I was only in Australia for about two months of the year the rest of the time I was recovering from my operation.
In this time my three-year visa was running, and I could not use it to its full capacity. So, I basically lost a year of my three-year visa. I returned back to Australia which was home in December 2014. I have had the pleasure in bringing up my children and seeing them grow to be awesome children in Australia which they now call home. It has been very difficult for myself and my husband as we only had one salary income and on this we needed to run a house hold (basically two households) as I was still flying backwards and forwards to SA for medical check ups.
In 2016 we needed to apply for a new visitational visa. I had to fly back to SA for medical check ups again and visa application. This took plus minus 8 weeks before my visa was granted, and I could fly back home to my children and husband. They only granted me a one-year visa on the grounds of my cancer been stage 4 and had gotten worse since my three-year visa was granted. Each time we have had to apply for a visa it has been very, very expensive but we have been very and blessed and lucky to be granted visitational visas up until a month ago.
I returned back to SA on the 7 June 2018. Needing to apply for a new visitational visa and also have my latest ct scan and bloods done. We received awesome news that my ct scan was clear as the year before, so this makes me four years tumour free but still stage 4. We lodged for the second year in a row, but this time received a letter stating that they declined our visitational visa. The Australian embassy’s reason for declining my visitational visa is the fact that I have been visiting Australia too many times even though I have stuck to all rules and regulations.
So, this brings me to the reason for this go fund me page been raised in my name. We have had to save up so many months and use all our savings on requesting a new visitational visa that we do not have any more funds left or any means available for us to obtain the money which will enable us to start a new visa application. This time we will be applying for a spouse’s visa. We need to come up with a considerable amount of money for the Australian embassy and lawyer fees therefore we ask for any donations to help me be with my family again.
DonationsSee top donations
- Amanda Power
- Valerie Nel
- Jodie Coutts
- Moggill Mt Crosby Parish
Fundraising team: TeamBev (3)
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