A letter from Andrew | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Fundraising, Inspiring Stories, Lifehouse News, Patient Stories

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to Be Brave for Lifehouse.

For the chance to see the fear on my face as I jump (or get pushed) out of a plane with a shaved head, donate to the link below and you can make it happen! A year ago today, 29th October 2019, I was diagnosed with cancer and this is my chance to give back. If you’re interested the full story follows. If not, you can simply follow this link and make it happen.

A year ago, today, I had a life changing event. I was in a wine tasting class, sparkling I think, as part of my WSET Diploma in Wine, when my doctor rang me to urgently come in. I was diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer of the tongue. The initial prognosis was not good, as well as the base of the tongue, the cancer had metastasised to my lymph system. Not the news anyone ever wants to hear but it did get better from there – I was lucky – it was treatable, and the doctors gave me an 80% chance of survival.  

After a couple of harrowing months of aggressive cancer treatment (radiation and chemotherapy), the recovery stage began and continues. The old adage that the cure is worse than the disease was very true in my part as I was asymptomatic and unaware of the cancer. The treatment really knocked me around and I lost 30 kg in the process and a few months of my life, only to emerge immune compromised into this new Covid world!

Life as I knew it has changed, but I am one of the lucky ones – I am here today 12 months on from diagnosis. Suffice to say wine tasting will never be the same and I miss that juicy rare steak.

I received massive support from friends and family, a debt which I can never repay.

I also received world-class compassionate treatment care and attention at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney. The staff were great, and all deserve a mention, but not here, there are just too many. I will put a shout out to Professor Chris Milross and Professor Michael Boyer who headed up the teams looking after me and without whom I would not be here today. I really appreciate the dedication of people like Chris and Michael who have spent a lifetime learning how to make very sick people’s lives better.

It’s now my turn to give back, or at least ask you to give something on my behalf.  The Lifehouse is running a fundraising campaign “Be Brave for Lifehouse” which is either a parachute jump or head shave. I’ve never been one to do things by halves and why jump out of a plane with a head of hair when you could do it without? So, I’m doing both. As I didn’t lose (much) hair through the chemotherapy it seems fitting that I should lose it now, as far as jumping out of a plane I’ve done that once before and haven’t bothered doing it since so that must say something!

My target is $2000, we need to reach at least $850 to see the fear on my face, I promise to post. There may even by video.

Don’t donate for me, I’ve had my treatment and come through the other side, donate for all those to come, chances are that it will be somebody that you love who will have to make the same journey I have, hopefully with the same outcome. For those of my friends who don’t live in Australia donate anyway, this community of doctors and researchers share their discoveries without restriction, so whatever they learn here is likely to benefit you there.

Skip that morning coffee for a week and we are there! 

The highest contributor can have the honours (or appoint a proxy) with the clippers!


Thank you for your support.


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