Nearly six years ago Rebecca’s then 36 year-old husband Jamie was struck down by excruciating back pain, leaving him unable to get out of bed.
After a number of x-rays, scans and a bone marrow biopsy it was revealed he had stage three myeloma and that left untreated he would probably only live another month.
Myeloma is a blood cancer that destroys the bones causing a great deal of pain. It’s a lesser known cancer but still a serious disease that affects 1500 Australians every year. There are a range of treatment options but no known cure.
To help Jamie and other families impacted by myeloma, Rebecca and her ‘Stomp out Myeloma’ team will tackle Stadium Stomp this July, a 5000 stair climbing challenge at the Gabba, raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“Prior to the diagnosis my life was great,” said Jamie. “We had just built a new house, I was a crane driver, married to my lovely wife Rebecca, with three young children – 11-year-old Carrie, Jack, 8, and five-year-old Sam.”
The day after his shock diagnosis Jamie began chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy.
In March 2012 Jamie had his first stem cell transplant that unfortunately only held the myeloma at bay for 10 months. He then had a second stem cell transplant which was more successful.
A range of side-effects including fatigue, restricted movement, lack of concentration and some continued pain left him with the realization he would not be able to go back to crane driving.
Due to his inability to work, the Hewetts were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to sell the family home that they had built and move to a rented home in Ipswich.
Today, Jamie is about 1½ years post his second transplant and he loves being a 'House Dad'.
Rebecca says Jamie has his good & bad days.
“He has frustrations when he is unable to do the things he used to, but he always bounces back.
“Now that he is down the track from his diagnosis I am proud of the way he is willing to support others who are struggling with diagnosis or with side effects of medication,” said Rebecca.
“He is my motivation for raising funds for research into better treatments, finding a cure and emotional support of patients and their families.
“My daughter Carrie and I have both shaved in the past and I personally have been working on my physical fitness this year, so I’m keen to try the Stadium Stomp.”
Help Rebecca stomp out blood cancers and sign up to Stadium Stomp today and choose to fundraise for the Leukaemia Foundation as part of your stomp.