MTB Dirt Admin's avatar

MTB Dirt Admin 217

Grim Ripper (1215)
Admin
Sep 09, 2011
07:28 am

When someone you love goes through so much, is prognosed to die in a few short years, and you find yourself struggling to help them, you'll do anything to help.

Some may remember riding MTB with Graeme when he wasn't battling the cancers. I'd like to see him ride again.

My younger brothers story is outlined below. The long and short of it is he needs about $30,000 for delicate nuerosurgery on a rare, malignant tumour in his neck.

Small or large, any donations to help this family are greatly appreciated.

To Donate
http://www.gofundme.com/7io08

The Good Die Young
How does someone cope when doctors tell him or her they have a cancer in their bone marrow that will take their life before they reach the age of their older brother? How does that person look at their 5 year old child and smile, when they ask if they can fly to Disneyland when they are older, knowing he will not be around anymore? How does one cope when battling such a burden, yet another biological attack threatens his life and the quality thereof?

I can’t answer that. I can only watch as my younger brother, whom I first saw vomiting from chemo when he was only 11 years old, and who has now beaten into submission another lymphoma, continues to smile, and courageously watches his son play as his mind turns over the news a malignant tumour, a third cancerous attack on his body, has attached itself and entwined around the nerves in his neck. A tumour the neurosurgeons in Brisbane had never seen before and were unwilling to interfere with.

Too Young
In 1987 Graeme Ardern was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a lymphatic cancer not common in children, especially 11 year olds. The cancer was prevalent in his abdomen and our family was told to prepare for his death. He lived.

Life’s Good, Or Not!
Fast forward to May 2006 and Graeme had now met up with Mandy, a girl he remembered from school, married her, and through the wonder of IVF, a baby was due to the family within the month. Aside from numerous side effects, life seemed to be good.

A hit on the head at work would change all that.

Scans came back and had revealed enlarged lymph nodes. Further scans found lymph nodes through his body were enlarged the early diagnosis was the Hodgkin’s had returned. After a biopsy the truth revealed he had Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He had gone from a rare cancer for his age to one of the more common cancers. However, to get both in a lifetime was a rarity still. At least the cancer was indolent (very slow growing) at present, and he had probably been living with it for some time already.

Days later, Dean was born, a ray of sunshine in the gloom of disease hanging over Graeme and Mandy’s head. Then, a day old, Dean was taken into special care for a bleed in his brain. It would be a further month before they could bring their new baby home.

Living in Fear
For the next few months Graeme would undergo a serious of Mabthera treatments which led up to Jan 2007 and the harvesting of his stem cells, a strategy put in place to fight the cancer when it finally ceased to be indolent and attacked with a vengeance we all knew would come one day.

That day would come about 2 ½ years later. 2 ½ years of wondering when the ticking time bomb in his body would go off. 2 ½ years of 3 and 6 monthly checkups, each time fearful, that this time the news he dreaded so much, would finally be spoken by the doctors.

The Battle Begins
July 2010 would see a change that heralded the fight to come. A flu hung in for months and from then on Graeme would feel tired and often short of breath. When Nov came around, scans showed lymph nodes in his groin, under his arms, and in his neck had suddenly ballooned.

By the time 2011 began, Graeme was already undergoing treatments and chemo for the Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that had so aggressively gone from almost dormant to wide awake. The devastating diagnosis was it had also gotten into his bone marrow; the prognosis now was not IF he would die, but when. Optimistic outlooks suggest he could conceivably live with this more than 5 years, but not more than 10, and that was IF he survived this attack.

By the end of April, the initial, aggressive treatment schedule was over, Graeme’s immune system was depleted to minimal levels, and the next two years would consist of constant Mabthera treatments to try to keep the cancer at bay.

Graeme would be out of hospital less than month before his ailing immune system allowed the Chicken Pox Virus to force him back with severe chest pains and bed rest for over a month to recover. Subsequent months would see Graeme go from one common cold and chest infections to another, all of which would barely make a healthy adult slow down, but would threaten his life.

The War Rages On
And now we are back in the present, and a tumour, a rare type of tumour Graeme has had most of his life, has come to life itself.

The tumour was biopsied in Dec 2008 and found to be a benign neurilemomma, which, is a rare type of tumor that stems from the nerve. PET scans between Dec 2010 and June 2011 have shown that the tumour is growing, something benign tumours of this type shouldn’t do. The Brisbane neurosurgeons had not seen this before and are unwilling to attempt the delicate surgery required to extract the tumour. Extensive radiation from the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when Graeme was 11 years old renders radiation useless as a defense for this also.

A trip to Sydney to see neurosurgeon who has seen this rare type of tumour before has given both hope and heartache.

Dr Mobbs believes he can operate, and the operation is vital due to the now certain malignancy of the neurilemomma, however, the cost is high. An MRI has shown that it is intimately related to the C5 and C6 nerves and the C7 and C8 nerves wrap around it. These nerves control his left arm movement and there is a 30% chance that they could be damaged resulting in a serious reduction of mobility in that arm.

A Better Man
The smile is waning. The energy and vitality in his voice and eyes is beginning to pale. If I had to weather this storm he has fought his whole life, the light would have paled in my eyes a long time ago.

But Graeme wants to live his life as much as he can while he is alive.

Until he draws his final breath, and our lives become much less than they were with his around, he wants to love and enjoy his wife and child as much as can.

He, they, need our help. A little can mean so much.

To Donate
http://www.gofundme.com/7io08

✎ Sep 09, 2011 07:29 am  
aaronwray's avatar

aaronwray 40

Mad Skillz (861)
Member
Sep 09, 2011
08:48 am

Win Graeme! For those interested I'd recommend people consider Advanced Care Planning http://www.health.qld.gov.au/advance-care-planning/ and the Palliative Care Information Service http://www.pcis.org.au/ they provide valuable information and support. Most of us eventually face these issues and these services and information may assist. Good luck Graeme fight hard!

 
Neilius's avatar

Neilius 55

Grim Ripper (1741)
System manager
Sep 09, 2011
10:04 am

We can raise some money for Graeme and do what we love at the same time.

Here's an idea: The Clear Mountain Hill Challenge.

Cost: Donation - whatever you can afford - suggestion: make it similar to what you last spent getting your bike serviced.

All the Donations get sent to Graeme.

Riders pair up and do a circuit of the hilly Clear Mountain tracks.

There are eight hills in the circuit I'm thinking of. It takes 60 - 90 minutes to do the circuit. You get 10 points for every hill you nail, and if you only make it part way up a hill your riding buddy decides how many points out of 10 you get for that hill.

At the end of the ride, whoever gets the most points wins a "Master of Clear Mountain" T-shirt or some other illustrious trophy. I don't mind paying for it.

Anyone interested?

We could take a few photos and send them to Graeme too - to let him know we're thinking of him.

 
Still Rolling's avatar

Still Rolling 39

Knob Scrubber (390)
Member
Sep 09, 2011
10:22 am

i watching this space Smile

 
hootsmon's avatar

hootsmon

Knob Scrubber (312)
Member
Sep 09, 2011
11:05 am

Just donated. Thinking of you Graeme.

 
MTB Dirt Admin's avatar

MTB Dirt Admin 217

Grim Ripper (1215)
Admin
Sep 09, 2011
05:03 pm

Thank you guys Smile

 
wingadelic's avatar

wingadelic

Mad Skillz (905)
I H'd TFU!!
Sep 09, 2011
09:48 pm

Quote: Neilius

We can raise some money for Graeme and do what we love at the same time.

Here's an idea: The Clear Mountain Hill Challenge.

Cost: Donation - whatever you can afford - suggestion: make it similar to what you last spent getting your bike serviced.

All the Donations get sent to Graeme.

Riders pair up and do a circuit of the hilly Clear Mountain tracks.

There are eight hills in the circuit I'm thinking of. It takes 60 - 90 minutes to do the circuit. You get 10 points for every hill you nail, and if you only make it part way up a hill your riding buddy decides how many points out of 10 you get for that hill.

At the end of the ride, whoever gets the most points wins a "Master of Clear Mountain" T-shirt or some other illustrious trophy. I don't mind paying for it.

Anyone interested?

We could take a few photos and send them to Graeme too - to let him know we're thinking of him.

I'm in. I'll even do it until I spew if someone wants to donate more money to see me do it.

 
hootsmon's avatar

hootsmon

Knob Scrubber (312)
Member
Sep 10, 2011
06:45 am

Quote: wingadelic

Quote: Neilius

We can raise some money for Graeme and do what we love at the same time.

Here's an idea: The Clear Mountain Hill Challenge.

Cost: Donation - whatever you can afford - suggestion: make it similar to what you last spent getting your bike serviced.

All the Donations get sent to Graeme.

Riders pair up and do a circuit of the hilly Clear Mountain tracks.

There are eight hills in the circuit I'm thinking of. It takes 60 - 90 minutes to do the circuit. You get 10 points for every hill you nail, and if you only make it part way up a hill your riding buddy decides how many points out of 10 you get for that hill.

At the end of the ride, whoever gets the most points wins a "Master of Clear Mountain" T-shirt or some other illustrious trophy. I don't mind paying for it.

Anyone interested?

We could take a few photos and send them to Graeme too - to let him know we're thinking of him.

I'm in. I'll even do it until I spew if someone wants to donate more money to see me do it.

@wingy Yeah, I reckon a bit of HTFU wouldn't do me any harm, so count me in.

@neilius I would buy a "Ride till you spew" fundraising T-shirt.

✎ Sep 10, 2011 08:38 am  
MTB Dirt Admin's avatar

MTB Dirt Admin 217

Grim Ripper (1215)
Admin
Sep 10, 2011
07:56 am

There's been a few donations already and I want to say thanks very much to those people. Big or small, every donation adds to the total and lessens the burden for this family just that bit more.

With the operation only about 4 weeks away I think, each donation aids in lifting their spirits and keeping the mood positive.

 
MTB Dirt Admin's avatar

MTB Dirt Admin 217

Grim Ripper (1215)
Admin
Sep 13, 2011
08:32 am

A few more donations coming through ... thanks very much again to those who found it in their hearts to help.

 
Amanda Ardern's avatar

Amanda Ardern

Noob (5)
Member
Sep 18, 2011
04:50 pm

G'day everyone,

I am Amanda Ardern (Graeme's wife and Mad Aussies sister inlaw) and I just wanted to thank all of those that have donated towards Graeme's Surgery and also to all of those that took part into the Bikini Car Wash yesterday. The generousity of strangers has blown me away and you have no idea how much you have eased the burden for us already as we have now raised $6000 towards the $30000 that is needed.

Thank you so very very much.

Mandy XXXXX

 
Neilius's avatar

Neilius 55

Grim Ripper (1741)
System manager
Sep 19, 2011
10:12 am

How about a fundraising ride on Saturday 1 October at Clear Mountain? If I get at least 2 other takers here I'll put it up in the "organize a ride" section.

To take part all you have to do is make a donation.

I'll supply a "Ride till you Spew" t-shirt as a prize.

I can pick up / drop off people from Bray Park Railway Station if necessary.

Suggested start time 9am.

 
Neilius's avatar

Neilius 55

Grim Ripper (1741)
System manager
Sep 19, 2011
10:24 am

Is this ok?

 
hootsmon's avatar

hootsmon

Knob Scrubber (312)
Member
Sep 19, 2011
01:37 pm

Quote: Neilius

Is this ok?

Awesome graphics! Not sure how the missus will react, but I'd be damn proud to earn one of those.

 
MTB Dirt Admin's avatar

MTB Dirt Admin 217

Grim Ripper (1215)
Admin
Sep 19, 2011
02:42 pm

Smile Love it!

As long as I'm not out there all day long ... I'll come along and take photos on the final tough climb to email free to each rider as well.