A step closer to treatment

November 30, 2017

Shepparton’s Sharelle Thompson has spoken about her mother Sergia’s battle with cancer.

One week, Mooroopna woman Sergia Thompson was feeling tired and unbalanced.

The next, she was having surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, to remove a grade four tumour in her brain.

Sergia, better known as Cherry, had had enough, and decided not to continue radiotherapy treatment at the Albury cancer centre to be closer to her family.

Five months later — in July this year — she died.

‘‘She wanted to be at home with family and friends,’’ her daughter Sharelle, 26, said.

‘‘She said she would’ve kept going if the services were here in Shepparton .’’

State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell told the tragic story of Cherry in a debate in parliament recently.

‘‘I thank her loving daughter Sharelle for courageously telling her mother’s story in the hope of getting radiotherapy services,’’ she said.

Ms Thompson said brain cancer made her angry and the fact Shepparton still did not have a service was disappointing.

‘‘Three out of 10 brain cancer sufferers die in the first five years,’’ she said.

‘‘Mum had radiation for cervical cancer 20 years ago and we’re still here now (without radiotherapy services).’’

Cherry’s story

(Told by her daughter Sharelle)

I just read an article in The News on the need for radiotherapy services at Goulburn Valley Health.

I would like to share my experience with the absolute need for this in Shepparton.

My mother Cherry Thompson was diagnosed with brain cancer in March this year.

It was an aggressive grade four glioblastoma tumour and was given a prognosis of 14 months with treatment.

The treatment involved oral chemotherapy and a course of radiation.

We were sent to the Regional Cancer Centre in Albury, where we organised for her to stay in the accommodation there.

But as my Dad is elderly and does not drive anymore and following brain surgery my mother was not able to drive, it provided a massive obstacle in getting her to and from Albury weekly.

Even walking the 10 minutes to the hospital from the accommodation was tough.

She had difficulty walking due to the part of the brain that was affected.

On one of the days, we had to arrange for Mum to get a taxi to drive her less than 2km to get her treatment.

After two treatments, my mother made the decision to not continue treatment as she did not want to travel and be away from family and friends for weeks on end.

She wanted to be home surrounded by family.

Mum said if the treatment was available in Shepparton, she would have done it to try and fight her illness but her desire to stay home was stronger.

Unfortunately, my mother passed away in palliative care in July, five months after diagnosis.

I feel this is something that is greatly needed in our region.

We should not have to travel to Bendigo or Albury for these services.

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