Mum's fight to stay alive for her daughters

Photo: Adam Hourigan
Photo: Adam Hourigan

CARLA Deery has a wicked sense of humour, a bright face, infectious energy and it's impossible to believe that right now, she's fighting to stay alive long enough for her youngest daughter to remember her.

"I'm fit and healthy. I can talk and run and do everything. I'm a normal person," Carla, who lives at Kungala, said.

But after going to the doctor in May with a swollen breast, she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and told it was terminal.

After the biopsy, a piece of what looked like "thick orange peel" spread "horribly", said the 37-year-old Coffs Harbour emergency nurse and mum of two.

And with the speed at which it all happened, Carla knew she didn't have a lot of time to make choices about her treatment.

She heard of a treatment, "smart bomb" (pertuzumab), which had success in the US and was only being trialled in Australia.

"They think it will be 18 months before it will be accepted and with my cancer, I'd be in a box by then," Carla said.

With her breast swollen to about the size of a watermelon, Carla had no choice but to start chemotherapy but she managed to also get a trial of the new treatment, being used in a combined attack.

The trial costs $98,500, and will take nearly a year.

"My mum put it straight on her credit card," Carla said.

"One oncologist said to me, 'If I had $20,000 I'd take my family away for a holiday'.

"But I'm 36 years old and I have a two-year-old daughter and a three-and- a-half-year-old daughter."

Carla reckons she's one of about 20% of terminal cancer cases and she would like to see alternative therapy available for those who have no more options.

Her story has captured the hearts of the community and now fundraising events to help pay for this treatment and, should she require it, further overseas treatment, have begun.

Her husband Matt Cramp, who also works at Coffs Harbour Hospital and is a musician, is continuing the efforts this Saturday with a charity concert at the Kungala Hall, from 2pm until late.

With the number of bands playing continuing to grow, there's a donation entry to the gig and a $10 lucky door prize, which could see you win an impressive cigar box guitar or other prizes.

There is camping available for overnight stays, food and a bouncy castle for the kids.

A trivia night is also in the pipeline.

"I would love to get the treatment I need, which is working overseas, and help to promote it in Australia," Carla said.

  • If you would like to directly donate to the family bank account details are: NAME: M L CRAMP BSB: 650 000 ACC: 512370304.

Topics:  carla deery terminal cancer

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