Sometimes in your life you meet someone special. A kindred spirit. Someone who makes you laugh like an idiot. Their energy is up-lifting and their aura is something that you can’t explain – but when anyone meets them they are instantly drawn to them and feel the same pull.
I’m proud to say I work with the Leukaemia Foundation. We have fifteen self-contained apartments at Northfield where people come and stay while undergoing treatment for blood cancer.
Two months ago I met a girl who had just started her cancer journey and was staying at our village. I instantly clicked with her and wanted to be her friend – in a non-creepy way I swear! The only shit thing about this, is that I was meeting her because she was sick.
I honestly have never met someone so strong. She’s only twenty-two and the way she deals with her world being turned upside down is phenomenal. She shouldn’t have to go through this. This is the shit part of my job. Meeting all these amazing people that shouldn’t be sick.
Her name is Hayley and this week she’s our extra special inspirational Adelady.
She is amazing and she will be fine, because she has to be. We have so much more laughing to do yet! Here is her story.
Sending LOTS of positive vibes your way girl. xx
Hi, I’m Hayley Smith, I’m twenty-two years old and two months ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.
To be completely honest, I couldn’t tell you much about what’s happened between then and now because I don’t think my head has actually stopped spinning — I HAVE CANCER! What the?
There’s something so surreal about being told that you have a life threatening illness. I was sitting there staring at an Xray of my chest with a tumour bigger than my fist staring back at me, waiting for the doctor to be all like “HAHA gotchya, you’ve been punked”, cue secret camera man jumping out from behind a door.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and by that afternoon I was the newest addition to C6 Haematology ward in Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Within an hour of finding out my news, I was awaiting chest and bone marrow biopsies (if you’re looking for something fun to do – do not get either of these procedures – would not recommend).
I’m now one month deep into six months worth of chemotherapy. Once a fortnight I sit in the day centre, test the theory of “all you can eat” shortbread & coffee, and chat to an incredibly vast range of people going through the roughest times in their life.
Yes, I am already losing my hair. Every little strand that I find on my pillow is like a kick to the shins and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about keeping all of it and making a wig out of my own locks. But, logic prevails and I’m making the most of the last few days I have with my precious hair.
The road to recovery doesn’t just take your hair, I’ve had to quit my job and move from out of my home. My family and I were lucky enough to land a spot at the Leukaemia Foundation Village for the entire duration of my treatment. I can’t speak highly enough about organisations like this. They have been absolute life savers.
Being limited in what I’m able to do throughout my treatment has made me incredibly aware of how much I took for granted prior to being diagnosed with cancer. At risk of becoming a total cliche, everything does happen for a reason and I now feel almost overwhelmed with the possibilities that simply being alive has to offer.
Don’t take your life for granted. Live it. Love it and if you’re in my situation—fight for it!