In 2008 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I was then told I had about 18 months to
live. Personally, I didn’t take much notice of this initial prognosis.
I had my first operation in Penrith Hospital and was in recovery for about two weeks. My surgeon, Dr Nair, told me after surgery that the tumor was bigger than he’d expected and that there was only one doctor who may be able to help me further and that was Dr Charlie Teo.
After my first meeting with Charlie Teo I was still not sure what to do. I knew brain surgery always involves risks, but I also wanted to do something. So I asked Charlie what he would do, and he said, ‘do you have kids?’ and I answered, ‘yes two beautiful ones.’
Charlie then laid out two very confronting options: If you don’t have the operation you won’t see your kids after 12 months or with the operation you may be in a wheelchair, you may be paralyzed, but you will see your kids.
I had the operation and it was a success. And they also discovered the tumor was not cancer.
Four years later and the tumor had returned. I had my third surgery, and this time they learned it had returned a cancer, so I had to go through post-operative chemo and radiation.
From this I started Music For Life, an annual fundraising event for brain cancer awareness and research. It’s held in Penrith and now in its seventh year and growing.
I am committed to helping raise money, and I know together we can find a cure for this terrible disease.
Ann Willmington – Brain Cancer Survivor and Founder of Music For Life