Rebecca Hewett is getting ready for her third Stadium Stomp event, raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. This year is even more special, with her 13-year-old son Sam forming part of her team, STOMP OUT MYELOMA, for the first time.
Rebecca’s husband Jamie was in his mid-30s and experiencing back pain, which the couple attributed to Jamie’s job as a labourer simply taking its toll on his body.
In April 2011, Jamie injured his back helping to shift a fridge, however over time the pain of the injury appeared to worsen rather than subside. As the pain continued to escalate, Jamie lost his appetite and a considerable amount of weight, prompting the couple to seek medical tests.
In August of that year, Jamie was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a blood cancer which is considered rare for his age group. Treatment started immediately and involved radiation therapy, a number of rounds of chemotherapy as well as two stem cell transplants. By the time Jamie was diagnosed, the myeloma was reasonably extensive and advanced, with a full body scan revealing cancerous cells were in his spine, spread across his hips and in his neck.
The impact on Jamie’s body of both the myeloma and the associated treatment was significant – Jamie had to learn to walk again and his bones are so brittle he requires regular medication to rebuild their strength. Jamie’s diagnosis also hit Rebecca and their three young children hard. With Jamie unable to return to his job and Rebecca only working part-time while studying, the family was forced to sell their home to manage their financial situation.
Now Jamie and Rebecca have learnt to live with Jamie’s myeloma. Jamie undergoes blood tests each month to ensure his treatment is effective, and he relies on blood products every few weeks to boost his body’s immunity. He also has chemotherapy twice weekly for three weeks of every month.
The family are grateful for the support they received from the Leukaemia Foundation when they were initially told of Jamie’s diagnosis, including extensive information about the disease, navigating connections to other services that could assist the family in their situation such as Lifeline, and help with the cost of parking at hospital for their sometimes twice daily trips from Fernvale to Brisbane. Jamie has also enjoyed connecting with other Australians living with blood cancer at several coffee and chat group meetings.
Rebecca, Sam and their team mates will take on the ultimate stair climb, Stadium Stomp at The Gabba on Sunday 28 July. To Stomp with them, or support their cause and make a donation to the Leuakaemia Foundation, click here.