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Jay’s Journey: Battling Peritoneal cancer at 30 and finding hope at Under Our Roof

Imagine being 30, a new dad and then receive a life-altering cancer diagnosis.

Jay in hospital with partner and young child visiting

Jay, a young father from Darwin, was faced with a life-altering diagnosis when cancer struck at the age of 30.

In May 2023, Jay went to his local GP with lower abdominal pain. After manyJay standing in hospital room wearing compression socks tests and scans, a CT scan revealed cancer. The weight of such a diagnosis at a young age brought stress and concerns about his chances of survival, especially given the significant spread of the cancer.

Diagnosed with peritoneal cancer, doctors explained this is a “tricky” cancer to deal with – the surgery he needed was not available in Darwin and Jay would need to be referred to their partner hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, for treatment in the coming weeks.

“You don’t expect at a young age to be diagnosed with cancer, and it’s a very serious type of cancer and already has a significant amount of spread. That doesn’t look very good and what does this mean for my chances of surviving it?”

The road to recovery from peritoneal surgery is about 4-6 weeks, and finding accommodation near the hospital initially seemed a huge challenge for Jay and his family.

The difficulty of finding suitable accommodation near a hospital is a common concern for many regional patients and their families facing cancer diagnosis, including Jay – “it’s been very stressful for the family situation”.

Then, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of Under Our Roof. “It’s been amazing” Jay remarked. “It was very much a game changer.”

Toddler holding book“My and my wife’s parents were able to come and stay and help look after the baby”, Jay reflected.

Creature comforts like a proper kitchen and a couple of different bedrooms meant Jay was able to have his support network close, have flexibility with treatment and have family meals together (not just hospital food!).

With Under Our Roof accommodation only a 15 minute walk to the hospital, Jay’s family was able to actively contribute to his recovery by visiting him during treatment and take the stress away.

“Having that opportunity to have aGrandmother with little guitar strumming with toddler stress-free environment to come back to really makes a difference when you are going through something like this.”

The Under Our Roof accommodation has four family-style homes available for country patients to stay in while they are receiving treatment, located in Woodville West and Bowden.

For country cancer patients, the cost is $40 per night. If you are eligible for PATS (Patient Assistance Transport Scheme or state equivalent) and have a healthcare or pension card, this cost is fully covered for stays over 3 nights.

You can help support Under Our Roof for as little as $10 per month – it can truly make a difference in people’s lives. It’s more than a contribution; it’s a lifeline for families like Jay’s. Together, we can ensure that Under Our Roof continues to provide the warmth of a home away from home.

If you’re a patient or family member interested in Under Our Roof, contact our friendly team at (08) 8244 1100 or email us at [email protected]