Meet Lifehouse patient Jack Richards | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Media Stories

How would you behave if diagnosed with a terminal illness? Meet Lifehouse patient Jack Richards – thoughtful, funny, searingly honest – as he answers some tough questions in this episode of ABC TV’s “You can’t ask that”.
Jack was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma in 2008, after being misdiagnosed three times. At first doctors thought his pain was caused by riding motorbikes. The third time he went to his doctor he had a physical lump the size of a golf ball. A week after his biopsy he started chemotherapy.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is New South Wales’ specialist sarcoma chemotherapy and day therapy treatment centre for sarcomas, a group of cancers that start in the bones or the soft tissues and are more likely to affect young people.
At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse we have a special Adolescent and Young Adult team that works with people between 15 and 29 years old to help them adjust to the changes a diagnosis can bring.
Jack’s illness made him face confronting questions.
“What will you leave behind? What are your memories? What are the best things you did? And what are the mistakes you made that you want to make up for?” he says.
He is matter of fact about the way some people had more difficulty talking about his cancer than he did. Jack says: “There are some people who you can’t be in front of without them thinking, ‘Cancer, cancer, cancer.’ Some people are sort of weird about the cancer and don’t know how to speak about it—that’s fine, but it kind of stops me from talking about it too.”
His sense of humour shone through.
“When I was diagnosed, everyone else I knew was doing the HSC. The HSC, when you are doing it, is the scariest, most intense thing you’ll ever do in your life, and I was just doing chemo.
“I failed miserably, I think my ATAR was about 22 or something, which got me into no university course. But I got through all my chemo and I did all my radiotherapy. I was in remission and there was no visible disease, and that was about the best result I could get that year.”
Jack brought a sparkle to our hospital. Rest in peace, Jack.

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