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A Mother's wish to help her children

Organized by: Tracey Plater

Tracey's Photo

THE STORY:

A lot of people when faced with a cancer diagnosis want to complete their Bucket List - I just want a roof over my family's head and to recover my children's possessions which we had to pawn to live. And move on with my life devoted to a Foundation to help people with the help of my children.

We know with help as a family we can make a differnce.

The sad truth of my story is it could happen to anyone. In the blink of an eye you can go from being "Mr & Mrs Average" to homeless!

We were just an average family - not rich, not poor. We had dreams and goals as most families do - family holidays, summer BBQ's, retirement trips planned around Australia. My house was always full - I've always been a giving person and there were always extra teenagers staying over - I loved being "Mum" to them. I even had my elderly Mum living with me to look after her, although sometimes I think she helped me more than I helped her. Mum had just been diagnosed with a heart condition and ended up living with us for 2 years before going back to her home last July.

I was the Managing Director of a national company working up to 70 to 80 hours a week and paid accordingly. Travelling away from home at least 10 times a year. I had great staff, loved my job and life was good.

When the 3 younger children were really small ( I also have an elder daughter to a previous marriage), we made a decision based on income that I was best to work and my husband would play Mr Mum. He did this and mowed lawns etc in between school hours. Then in 2005, he got another job as an electrician at a private school fairly close to home, so he could do either mornings or afternoons, so there was always someone home when the kids were.

My eldest son, being a talented athlete, had been living in New Zealand at a Cricket Academy from the age of 14, he turned 16 in the October of 2008 and was coming home for Christmas. We were all excited to be together as a family again.

At the start of 2009 our lives changed forever. I had felt two large lumps under my arm during our Christmas celebrations, but didn't want to worry anyone or spoil the festivities. However, I felt something was not right so organised a mammogram and ultrasound. As soon as I saw the look on the ultrasonographer's face I knew I was in trouble.

After that things happened fairly quickly - fine needle biopsy, core biopsy then surgery. After testing it was confirmed I had Grade 2 Stage 3 Breast Cancer with 2 out of 20 lymph nodes involved, so it had was already started metastasising and was classed as metastatic cancer. NOT THE ONE YOU WANT. Next was chemotherapy then radiotherapy. which obviously meant I could not work. The company I had been Managing Director of had been going through some financial pressures due to a number of circumstances, so before I knew it I was out of a job. Losing a 6 figure income is immense and within a few short months our lives had spiralled out of control.

Teenage years are turbulent for most young people - its a time of new experiences, re-evaluating who they are and where they fit in society. The added stress of a parent with cancer is often something a young person cannot deal with.

9 months after my diagnosis my 16 year old son turned to drugs and alcohol. He suffers from depression and anxiety. Thankfully, he is working through his issues with the help of professionals and I am confident he will get his life back ontrack.

My youngest daughter has really bad anxiety, depression, panic disorder and does not leave the house or barely her room, luckily she has a wonderful partner who has even taken loans to help this family.

My youngest seems to fare the best (or really I think he hides it well) but also has had a terrible time himself and is only 19, at 10 he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and over the next 3 years we nearly lost him 3 times, then when he turned 17 was in a horrific car crash and we nearly lost him again to PTSD he got down to 38kg and his body was shutting down. I was too sick to look after him and my youngest daughter nursed him back to health.

We have had to move several times since 2009 due to financial pressures, medical costs and lack of funds. 10 days before Xmas 2013 we were evicted and were homeless with me staying at my son’s girlfriends parents house on the lounge, my youngest in a room at the pub, my daughter and her partner in the car then at a caravan park and,my husband stayed with his mother in a retirement village on her floor.

With the help of friends we finally moved into a house in March 2014, however right now if I don't catch up on the rent we will be homeless again.

One of hardest heart wrenching things is my children to help the family have PAWNED/HOCKED their 21st presents and 18th presents, their computers and anything they or I could find including all my jewellery including my husbands and mine wedding rings and 25 years of mementos.

IF I DON'T PAY THEM ASAP WE WILL LOSE EVERYTHING.
I CAN'T DO THIS TO MY KIDS.
I NEED TO RAISE 20K IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

I had my PET scan 3 weeks ago and for the first time in 5 years I am NED (No Evidence of Disease). Having advanced breast cancer the statistics of survival is only 14%. Chemotherapy can and does do irreparable damage to a person's body. I now have Type 1 diabetes,plus many other chronic illnesses and unfortunately have lost vision due to not being diagnosed sooner. I am still on 4 weekly infusions and will be for the rest of my life.

I never in my life want to see any children or teenagers go through what we have been through. Teenagers should be out having fun, without a care in the world not caring for their sick mother and wondering how long she is going to live.

Breast Cancer not only affects the patient's health, but is damaging (sometimes beyond repair) a family's financial and emotional security. This damage can and often does change the course of a person's life - I know it has for our family.

A lot of people want wishes granted, all I want is my a roof over my head and to help my children who have given up so much for me their MUM.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please share as I have only shared it away from my children.

If everyone who reads this donates $1 - please know your $1 is helping a proud, loving family to rebuild their lives. Our children mean the world to us - every $1 will go to taking the daily pressure off my family even for simple things like food, allow me a mother to give them their ireplaceable Jewelry etc back that they willingly pawned to help us survive, allow us all to heal and put our energy into helping others so they do not have to face what my family has. I thank you in advance for your generosity and please share with family, friends and workmates.

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Organized by

Tracey Plater

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