Before his diagnosis in September 2021, 10-year-old Tommy was a fit and healthy kid, who loved his sports.
‘’After several months of Tommy telling me he couldn’t breathe, doctors found a large tumour on Tommy’s chest that revealed Tommy had T-cell lymphoma. The tumour covered Tommy’s chest and it pressed on his lungs, and that was what was causing him difficulty breathing.
Tommy’s mother, Mum, Le-Anne is one of thousands of families across Australia whose lives have been turned upside down by her child’s cancer diagnosis. We know 80% of dual income families are forced to half their income so one parent can be available 24/7 to care for their sick child. But for single parent families like Le-Anne, the financial strain is beyond imaginable.
“The financial stress was and still is a huge burden. Three years later we are still on treatment and struggling to get by. Being a single Mum there has always only ever been one income.”
“If I am not earning, we don’t eat. But how do you choose between being by your child’s side or earning money? You don’t. So, for four to six months, we had zero money coming in. I ended up selling my car and had to rely on friends and family for lifts to the hospital.
It’s a very scary situation to be in and one that took a huge toll on my mental health. Two years later, I am still feeling the effects. You can never be prepared for something like this, and you often lose so many people around you. Your circle gets very small. Having an organisation like Redkite help you feel less alone through it all.”
“Redkite was able to pay some household bills like electricity and rent which was incredibly helpful.”
‘’Our Redkite Social Worker let me know that Redkite had a financial assistance program that could help me. I couldn’t get any income and I wasn’t in a mental space to work. It took so much pressure off, knowing that my rent was paid and that I could have Coles vouchers that I could use to feed my child for a week. This kind of support is critical. I don’t know what I would have done with it.”
Tommy is still in treatment and he still has another year to go, needing a lumbar puncture and starting another round of chemotherapy and steroids again.
The unexpected costs associated with cancer can build up, whether it’s taking time off work, having to give up your job completely, hospital parking or even having to rent somewhere closer to hospital. Redkite is there to ensure families, like Le-Anne and Tommy, are able to manage the financial impacts of childhood cancer through financial assistance for everyday expenses, like putting food on the table and fuel in the car.