Today, I come to you as a mother with a plea that weighs heavily on my heart.
My name is Mridula, and I with my husband, are at a critical juncture where your support can make all the difference both for us and for the precious future we dream for our daughter.
My husband and I moved to Australia in 2017, filled with dreams of a better future. Little did we know that our lives would soon be turned upside down by the news of an aggressive and relentless type of cancer which I was diagnosed with towards last stages of my pregnancy. It was March 2020 when I was 37 weeks pregnant, that I started experiencing excruciating back pain and difficulty swallowing. My obstetrician prescribed painkillers but after two weeks of no sleep and upon my insistence that there is something more sinister at play, I was rushed to the emergency room, where an ultrasound revealed the presence of ascites. Further tests and an MRI confirmed our worst fears — a tumour in my ovary, most likely cancerous. The weight of the word 'cancer' bore down our world with fear and uncertainty. I always had robust health and infrequent visits to doctors, and here I was thrust into a reality I never imagined.
The very next day, I underwent an emergency C-section and had my right ovary, along with the tumour, removed. The biopsy results shattered our world. I was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer. To give myself any chance of survival, I had to start chemotherapy immediately. It was a race against time, and amid the chaos of battling cancer, we found ourselves facing another immense challenge — the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With international borders closing and limited support available, my husband and I found ourselves alone in the hospital for nearly a month, while our newborn daughter was in the neonatal unit.
Those initial months were incredibly tough, but we found strength in the unwavering support of our close friends. With their help and the arrival of my mother who was granted an exemption to travel and my husband taking a year and a half sabbatical, whilst I battled postnatal depression, we slowly began to rebuild our lives. I embarked on a gruelling journey of chemotherapy every two weeks (which now I am told it’s ‘chemo for life’). As gastric cancer is aggressive and being diagnosed in advanced stages, with limited research and treatment options available, the doctors delivered a grim prognosis, informing us that if the chemotherapy worked, I might have a maximum of six months.
For the past three years, my life has been a roller coaster ride of surgeries and treatments. I recently underwent brain surgery to remove a 6cm cancerous lesion, followed by multiple rounds of radiation as new spots were discovered during brain MRIs. While the rest of my body is currently NED (No evidence of active disease), my oncologist is deeply concerned about the recurring brain metastases as chemotherapy does not reach the brain. To combat this, I urgently need a breakthrough drug called Enhertu. Unfortunately, this medication is not currently subsidised by PBS Australia and our request to the pharmaceutical to provide it on compassionate grounds has been rejected thrice. Every three weeks this drug costs us a staggering $12,000 AUD and it’s impossible to afford the treatment with my husband being our sole earner.
I have always been a positive person and despite the grim prognosis, I have come this far and believe I can overcome this hurdle once again. It is a ray of light amidst the darkness, offering me the chance to fight back against this threatening cancer.
That's why I am reaching out to you today and humbly asking for your support. I have faith in the power of compassion and the strength of community. Our goal is to raise $200,000 through this crowdfunding campaign, ensuring that I have access to the life-saving medication I urgently require, this should get us by until another feasible option such as a clinical trial is available. Every contribution, whether it's $10, $100, or any amount within your means, will serve as a beacon of hope, guiding us through the darkness of this battle. This way you will give me the chance to witness my daughter's milestones, to hold her close, and to shape her beautiful future that lies ahead.
From the depths of my heart, I thank you for your kindness, generosity, and unwavering support. With your support by my side, I know that I am not alone in this battle. I know that our collective efforts have the power to conquer even the most daunting challenges life throws our way.
With heartfelt gratitude,