The Weekend to End Women's Cancers | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Gail O’Brien

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THANK YOU!

Thank you for being part of this journey, it means the world to me.

The path to a future free from cancer is paved $1 at a time by donors such as you – every dollar means that we can do one more test, give one more dose, save one more life and every single dollar makes a difference.

Your generous support will help patients not only survive, but thrive.

Every kilometre you have walked, every dollar you have raised, has made a real difference to the 42,000 patients who visit Lifehouse each year.

Because of you, Lifehouse has taken part in more clinical trials – giving patients like Caroline, the benefit of early access to the world’s newest medications, treatments, processes and surgeries. We’ve also been able to introduce two cryogenic tanks, which freeze tumour samples that we are already using for innovative research that we hope will yield weapons to fight cancer in the future.

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Caroline Bernardi 

Caroline Bernardi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the end of 2008, but a new targeted therapy had an incredible effect.

As her lung cancer was inoperable, Caroline completed three cycles of chemotherapy – but there was no significant improvement. The 44-year-old was then offered a clinical trial, testing a drug that was not on the market.

A mother of two young girls, aged 10 and six at the time, Caroline was more than happy to get involved, convincing herself that the treatment would work.

“It was a targeted therapy. I would take three tablets every day at the same time. The technology was cutting edge as it attacked nothing but the cancer cells. The doubts crept in now and again, but I felt really good. When I touched my neck, the tumours started to feel different. They’d been quite pronounced, hard and fixed like two Kool Mints, but now they were more jelly-like.

“There were some side effects. The biggest one was a rash on various parts of my body. It’s an acne-like rash, incredibly itchy and painful if anyone touches it. I also got diarrhoea, an upset stomach and mouth blisters, but that’s about the extent of it. It was a nuisance, but a small price to pay.

“I went to see my doctor at the eight-week mark. He starting flicking through the scans and then said to me that it’s gone. I was confused, so I asked him what my reply should be if someone asked me if I had lung cancer. He said that I could say that I had it, but I don’t have it any more. I couldn’t believe it. The cancer had completely cleared in eight weeks.

“I’m in remission, but I still take the drug three times a day. I still have to manage the side effects, but this treatment allows me to get on with my life. When I was diagnosed, I took up meditation and now I teach it. I developed a mantra to live in faith, trust and gratitude, and I do every day. Good things have come out of this whole ordeal.”

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