Hi all, I write this update for Mum (which by now most of you would have seen on social media).
It’s been a roller coaster of a week but this morning Mum went to sleep for the last time, peacefully and surrounded by family.
This original gofundme raised an amazing $3895 which paid for our family home in Townsville to become fully air-conditioned (which helped Mum's comfort while she was unwell) and added a small extension that was used as a guest bedroom for all the visitors Mum and Dad had over the last few months. As a family, we could not thank each and every one enough for your kind heartedness which helped us immensely.
In addition to Mum having to quit her job as a driver trainer with Graduate School of Motoring, my Dad also had to step back from his role as a foreman with the QLD Government to care for her full time. This has been hard for our family both emotionally and financially - leave balances are exhausted, and mandatory hotel quarantine costs for my Grandparents have left our family in debt. We are now in the stressful situation of giving Mum the send off she deserves. It is no secret that funerals are an expensive time for families so we are seeking help of any kind.
If you are in the position to donate to Paris' funeral costs our family would appreciate it beyond what words could describe. Funeral details will be posted later in the week once arrangements have been finalised.
As Mum would say..."Thanks fam bam"
Hi all, I've asked my kids to help me set this up (for those that know me well, I've never been super tech savvy, I know how to play Whitney Houston on my blue tooth speaker and am pretty handy with my iPad though!). My bunny (my eldest Alisha) has helped me write my story below;
Mum wanted to post this page to let you (the people she knows and loves) know why she stopped responding to texts, phone calls and went silent all of a sudden. She wanted to tell you her story, filled with heartbreak, and hope, and to get your love and support for what has turned out to be one of the most difficult times of our families lives, and will continue to be a long and difficult journey ahead. This is my Mum's story written by me but very much dictated word for word by her. Mum 'humbly' mentioned to me that 'she is a celebrity so people need to know where she is and what's happening' - Classic of my mum right?
On January 20th 2020 Mum's life and world she knew was turned upside down. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. In a matter of days she had to give up her much loved job as a driver trainer to start intensive cancer treatment. On February 14th just 3 weeks after her initial diagnosis Mum ended up in emergency with a severe blockage in her bowel which turned out to be a large, cancerous tumor. She hadn’t eaten in 5 days. The doctors came in and told us 'nothing could be done', and Mum would be moved to palliative care later that day to live out the rest of her life. For those that know Mum and her stubborn nature - this wasn't an option. Mum and Dad refused to give up. They pushed for a second opinion and were sent a new team of surgeons for more advice. There had to be another way. Mum was granted the opportunity to have the surgery but was told it was very high risk and there was a good chance we wouldn't see Mum again. I remember Mum sitting in her hospital bed, she looked directly into my eyes and said "I'd rather take the risk to jump to the other side of the cliff then wait here to be eaten by a bear".
For those who know my mum, you would agree that ‘strong’ is her top attribute. She used her strength, and wouldn’t give up without a fight. She jumped off the edge of the cliff…. And she landed on the other side. The surgery went without a hitch and 2 weeks later Mum is now recovering and feels she's been given a second chance. To do her recovery justice and for you to feel her positive energy I'll simply transcribe what she said.
"I am now recovering and feel I’ve been given a second chance and slowly learning to eat and walk again. There are still hurdles ahead for me, but at least I’m here TODAY. That’s the word I want to highlight! I want everyone to know today is the most important day! Appreciate today, because like I’ve just experienced, your life can be changed overnight. The irony is I love food, cooking and feeding people and yet I’ve been dealt with the hardest card of my life - it attacked my stomach! Even in hospital I was tuned into the cooking channel. It's been mentally and physically draining as food has always been my passion."
Even in her poor health my Mum wants to make sure her second family at Graduate School of Motoring are supported. She has loved being a driver trainer for more than a decade with her team there and will remain interested in the motoring world, however she will no longer be able to teach.
Mum's sent me some words that describe her to share here at the end (again, classic of my mother) but I couldn't agree more so I'm happy to oblige. My Mum is kind and generous - our house is always filled with food and love. She always finds a way to make things funny and always cracks an accent to help tell her stories (which are always really bad by the way, sorry Mum!). She has also described herself as polite, courteous and humble which is half true...(humble? Mum, I don't think so, you have a portrait of yourself in your bedroom...!). Overall my Mum is strong and has such a positive outlook on life and this cancer hasn't changed her one bit. She's still the same fire cracker she always has been and even when things weren’t looking up, she made us proud by showing her fighting spirit.
Mum still has terminal cancer, and there’s a long road ahead with chemo and therapy. But given her story, she’s showed everyone that there’s hope even when you feel like there isn’t. Mum is old school and she doesn't have a bucket list; she just wants to spend the time she has left enjoying the simple things in life. She will be updating her story through this page so please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Paris & family ❤
- Liz Smith
- Tim Birnie
- Alexanda Harraway
- Shahn Trevarthen
Organizer and beneficiary
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