“The strongest person I know has cancer”
Rebecca Cole is a WNBL player for the Southside Flyers, World Champion 3×3 player for Australia and current member of the Australian Opals Olympic Squad.
My story with Lymphoma Australia and how they helped
I will always remember the day I found out that my Dad (Gary, pictured with me above) was diagnosed with cancer. I had just returned from Tokyo representing my country at a 3×3 Tournament and Dad sat me down and told me the terrible news. At first I said “Okay that’s fine, we will get through this” and walked away. Two moments later I burst into tears and sat on my Dads lap and gave him a big cuddle. I then remember saying “actually I’m not okay, the word ‘cancer’ scares me and I just want you to be okay.”
Not long after that we found out that the cancer he had was Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. I didn’t know a lot, if anything about this cancer so I went straight onto the Internet and went to Lymphoma Australia’s website to educate myself more about it. Along with this information provided and the doctors involved, we became aware that NHL can be a curable cancer. This put everybody in my family a little bit more at ease with this unfortunate circumstance and the fact we had caught it at an earlyish stage was also another positive.
I had posted something on my social media about Dad and myself and him tackling Lymphoma. Straight away a member from Lymphoma Australia named Josie got in contact with me. She said she “I have been in touch with you Dad” and that “it can be a tough road to be on. Please know you can call the nurse support line at any time with questions.” The fact Josie a complete stranger had already reached out to my Dad and provided support to not only him but myself as well, was amazing.
Throughout the course of Dad’s journey with Lymphoma there were times when it was quite confronting. For the most part Dad was very lucky and didn’t suffer much from his chemotherapy or radiotherapy but when the strongest person I know looks so weak and fragile it can be upsetting. With Dad’s high spirits and positive out-look he made it very easy for our family to stay upbeat. With this said, if I ever needed some reassurance throughout it all, the Lymphoma Australia website was there to provide information and resources. I also loved that you could watch videos of other inspiring patients going through it and telling their stories. It helped me being able to make it more relatable to my current situation.
I just couldn’t believe how kind and generous that the members at Lymphoma Australia were. They helped my family and I in a difficult time and now I want nothing else but to help them and give back. If this space is as welcoming and caring as the people involved, then it was a no brainer that this is a community that I want to be a part of. A sense of belonging was what I felt and no matter if you’re a patient, a family or friend of a patient or an individual just wanting to be educated and know how to help, the people from Lymphoma Australia are there for you with open arms.
“After the shock of the diagnosis, having someone there who can help educate you about the disease and how to help makes all the difference. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone, and it gives us all confidence in knowing there are options when it comes to fighting this cancer.” – Rebecca Cole