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Support Shona's Cancer Campaign

$49,516 of $55,000 goal

Raised by 523 people in 4 months
Created September 24, 2018
Team Shona
Shona's tumour needs overseas treatment!

In March 2018, Shona had scans that found a tumour at the base of her spine. Major surgery in May had complications that have deemed the tumour inoperable, so her doctors are seeking Proton Beam radiation therapy.

The location of the tumour means regular radiation treatment would put her organs and vital nerves at great risk. Proton Beam treatment instead offers a safer attempt at reducing the tumour without risking secondary tumours further down the line, as well as reducing damage to reproductive organs. Proton Beam treatment therefore represents a future with significantly better quality of life.

Unfortunately, this treatment is not yet available in Australia, and means sending her across the world to be treated in the US.

At 23 years old she's trying to finish her university degree while dealing with the day to day realities of a cancer that affects the nerves in her legs, bladder and bowels. With very high pain levels, she's desperate to start radiation treatment.

Support for costs such as incontinence and mobility aids, medications and treatment, and in particular the trip to the US would mean the world to Shona and her family in this difficult time.

With her adult life just beginning Shona has everything to fight for and asks for your help to ensure she has the best quality of life we can give her.

- Please check the 'updates' page for more info!
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Update 20
Posted by Shona Edwards
20 days ago
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Shona's Treatment (Recovery) Update for Week #10:


After 'recovery' week 2, I'm finally going home today! Can you believe its been ten weeks!!! Finally I can stop clogging your newsfeeds with these updates!


I have been thinking about what I'd like to achieve once coming home. I guess I'm making some New Year's resolutions of a kind. Adelaide is building a proton beam centre, and that needs to gain visibility and momentum. Maybe I can help that in some way.


This campaign is no longer about raising funds. I've been blown away by support and its helped so much. This went way bigger than I thought it ever could. I have that security now to dip into for support, as I will setting up home with occupational therapy assists for recovery post-treatment and with deteriorated symptoms. Instead of trying to raise funds, I'm going to continue with monthly updates to keep visibility. To show the aftermath, to show where money goes, which services are there to help, and importantly, where the gaps are. Also just in case people want to continue to follow my story.


The most important thing to know about my situation is that I'm not just sick and seeking a cure - I have a disability that is a lifelong condition.


We could get rid of my cancer and I'll still have a spinal injury caused by it. The reality is that getting rid of it is far off for me - this proton beam treatment takes many months to have an effect. In 3 months hopefully an MRI will show it's shrinking. The tumour is wrapped around nerves. Maybe we intentionally leave some rather than unnecessarily debilitate me with an aggressive surgery.


Cancer is both acute and chronic. The heath care system, the university system, the workplace sometimes struggles with that.


So I'm going to keep talking about it.


I am going to switch my updates over to my blog - it's a better system for photos and longer text updates. I actually started this blog right at the beginning of my diagnosis but it was too raw and personal to share widely. If people read backwards into the old posts I need them to really be aware that it is a discussion of life with cancer. There's some light posts and pretty pictures but also heavy stuff. Read at your own risk!

Please join me there:

www.wine-darksea.com/

Otherwise, if you don't want to read my melodramatic self-indulgent essays, thank you again for donating so generously and following my journey this far. I couldn't have done it without you.
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Update 19
Posted by Shona Edwards
22 days ago
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Shona's Treatment (Recovery) Update for Week #9:

(apologies I forgot to post this to the GoFundMe page not just Facebook! Here it is!)

Just a quick update in my first 'recovery' week.

Without the daily trips to the clinic I feel a bit lost. I guess to some extent that's a feeling everyone gets at Christmas, the dates and days get all mixed up, and everyone is frantic about when the shops are closed. But here we're quite isolated so I feel those things are more stressful. I'm getting slightly agoraphobic here in my safe hotel room.

I'm pushing to practice being in the wheelchair for longer, but the nerve sensation in my back and legs is just so different and stranger than it was before. Sometimes I'm just pins and needles all over. My skin is reacting to being zapped as well which doesn't help comfort levels - it looks like a huge angry splotch of sunburn, and hurts like it too. Pictured - how many pillows can one wheelchair hold! Each is an attempt to relieve a quirk of nerves playing up.

I am glad that I'm coming home in the new year, it feels like the beginning of a fresh chapter of my life. Post-treatment is psychologically such a different state of mind. We spent so long waiting to find out what the next step would be, radiation or surgery, and then once I was ready to leave for treatment there was still weeks of waiting anxiously.

Now we have more waiting, for the effects of the treatment, but it's done. There's nothing more for me to do than let my body fight this, let it do it's thing.
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Update 18
Posted by Shona Edwards
1 month ago
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Shona's Treatment Update for Week #8:

My treatment is now all finished!

Now I can rest!

Well, now I can work on trying to sit up without pain, and work up to walking a bit further each day. I've got a new pair of forearm crutches that are so fantastic teaching me balance sometimes I almost forget I can't walk and just want to float forwards! Hopefully I don't end up falling flat on my face.

I'm very grateful to be able to spend Christmas with Joey, visiting from London. I can't believe we've been here so long, I'm torn between wanting time with him but counting down the days to get home.

I'm posting a little clip Joey took of my last trip into the clinic! Bless the drivers who always made sure I was wrapped up like a mummy against the cold snow!

My goal for next week: sit up for some of Christmas dinner! They celebrate on the 24th here and we're lucky to be able to have a traditional Czech meal at the restaurant of the hotel.
I'm looking forward to it.
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Update 17
Posted by Shona Edwards
1 month ago
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Shona's Treatment Update for Week #7:

We've come to the time where we're trying to prepare for the trip home. Next week is my last week of zaps and then it's Christmas, so we're trying to plan ahead of time but my condition is still hard to predict and things can change daily.

Case in point, we've had to add a week to the trip of recovery time, to be sure I can handle the flight home. Three weeks until I'm home.

Sitting upright still causes me a lot of pain and there's no getting around needing a wheelchair in airports and sitting up for take off and landing. I'm optimistic I can handle it but there's physiotherapy work to do, so I have to tell myself one more week can't hurt. I just want to be home and have it all done and it's agonising to draw it out. We're so close to the end but getting home feels so far still!

One excellent distraction has been hearing the Christmas traditions of Prague. It just sounds so different to Australia, and the winter atmosphere really lends to that sense of pagan remnants and folklore traditions. We need more of this kind of thing in Australia - more children getting interrogated by a Santa accompanied by an angel and a devil and worried they'll be getting handed coal not candy!

Another relief has been that mum has gone to so much trouble to bring me many small comforts that make all the difference. Whether it's the mini-tree Christmas decorating or making comfort food just like at home. When I'm sick I usually have a running list of things I can't wait to get back to (always food) - but this time thanks to her and thanks to no nausea (a miracle!) I've been happy, well fed, and completely indulged.

I cannot emphasise enough how much of a difference my pain management and that lack of nausea has made. Pain creeps into every part of your life. I know Dad and Cathy are waiting back home ready with all my favourites too. Thanks to the internet I can feel connected to their Christmas preparation too even from so far.

So on the one hand this week has been a frustrating change to the plan - but nothing has gone particularly worse this week, and for that I am thankful. Any improvement is worth celebrating! Each day I'm more mobile, each day I'm stronger!
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$49,516 of $55,000 goal

Raised by 523 people in 4 months
Created September 24, 2018
Team Shona
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