Lauren, 32, is a loving young Central Coast mum to her beautiful two year old son, Harrison, and dedicated wife to husband Mark. Also being a busy working mum, Lauren often puts her needs last, so when she began to feel ill she thought nothing of it. It was only when she was not recovering from a series of ongoing symptoms that Lauren sought medical assistance. Whilst under treatment for various diagnoses given, the young family excitedly planned their little boys second birthday not knowing that in a few short weeks their lives would soon be turned upside down. They were rocked by the news that Lauren had been diagnosed with an advanced cancer and she was now facing the fight of her life. Please read her story below:Lauren was raised and lives with her family on the Central Coast, is a dedicated Volunteer Surf Life Saver and has been a loyal member of the Terrigal Surf Club for over 21 years. Passionate about giving back to the community, Lauren proudly has never missed a rostered beach patrol ensuring the safety of beach goers at the very popular Terrigal Beach. Lauren has also built a career as a Team Leader for her current employer, devoting nine years to her team and loyal customers.In April this year, Lauren began to feel unwell, suffering a variety of painful symptoms. With her doctor’s guidance she pursued several forms of treatment which ultimately weren’t helping, which made her question whether the initial diagnosis was right. In true form, Lauren tenaciously pursued answers, resulting in a referral to a gastroenterologist. Initially a course of strong antibiotics was prescribed, however Lauren’s condition quickly deteriorated making it almost impossible for her to eat.Lauren was admitted to hospital for exploratory surgery which was performed to identify why she was so unwell and unable to eat. Initially upon awaking from the surgery she was greeted with what seemed to be positive news, she was diagnosed with a completely obstructed bowel, the result of an ulcer which would be treatable. Treatment consisted of medication administered intravenously and further explorative surgery, to investigate how the ulcer had responded to the medication. Awaking from this surgery the news was not so positive. The mass in her stomach wasn’t an ulcer, but thought to be a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour or a GIST. This tumour, usually benign, was blocking Lauren’s stomach resulting in severe malnutrition. The doctors explained that the tumour would need to be removed urgently, a partial radical gastrectomy would have to be performed.The following day Lauren underwent the surgery which unfortunately was unsuccessful, the tumour was inoperable. The tumour was not confined to her stomach as first thought, but had spread to the lining of her stomach, and the lymph glands surrounding the stomach. It was attached to her common bile duct and hepatic artery, and had also spread to her bowel. The doctors explained that the location and size of the tumour was preventing her stomach from functioning, preventing her receiving vital nutrition from her food.To help Lauren receive the nutrition she desperately required they performed a gastric bypass, allowing Lauren to eat again. The doctors also took further biopsies during the surgery to identify if the tumour was cancerous. Post-surgery the doctors prepared Lauren and her family for the worst, explaining she would receive the results from the tests the following week. This week was the longest week for Lauren, confined to a hospital bed with masses of drips, drains and tubes, constantly aware that she was waiting to hear the outcome of the biopsies. Tuesday 5th July, the results arrived, with devastating news, the tumour was an advanced form of cancer. The young families lives were turned upside down.Lauren was referred to an Oncologist, who designed a treatment plan to help her fight the cancer, to begin in four weeks’ time. Lauren used this precious time to nourish her body, spend time with the ones she loved and prepare for the battle she was about to undertake.Lauren began her treatment which included fortnightly chemotherapy. Initially the chemotherapy consisted of two drugs. The first was administered in hospital then she has a small amount of the second one before being sent home with the same drug running slowly for two days through a pump. This allows her to rest at home before returning to the hospital to have the pump removed. After her second treatment a third drug was introduced to give Lauren the best chance to fight this cancer. Lauren has undertaken this third drug with hopes it will be a more effective treatment. Unfortunately this particular drug cannot be subsidised for Lauren, meaning that she and Mark have to pay $1900 fortnightly upfront to assume a more effective attack on the tumour. Lauren’s treatment results in severe side effects rendering her unable to return to work. Her employer has been extremely supportive, allowing her to use her leave entitlements consecutively. However these will soon run out, leaving the young family under significant financial stress and vastly growing costs.Lauren will undergo treatment for a number of months, with the aim to shrink the cancer to a stage where doctors will be able to perform a further major surgery to remove it.This go fund me page has been created by Lauren’s close friends to help her with the expensive ongoing medical costs associated with receiving her chemotherapy and other associated medical bills.Our initial aim is to raise $20,000 to help cover the costs associated with her currently prescribed treatment, with the hope there will be no need for further funds. With the support of the community we are confident we can help Lauren to make a full recovery and If there are funds left over, Lauren intends to donate it to the Cancer Council and Gosford Private Hospital Oncology ward.We ask for your support for our determined, beautiful and caring friend Lauren, someone who is always so selfless and giving to others in need. This is your opportunity to help a fellow Coastie, and shine a Light into the hearts of a beautiful young family who are in the darkest time of their lives. You can follow Lauren’s journey through our Facebook page ‘Light for Lauren’.
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