An Adelaide couple’s “worst nightmare” has come true after the parents of two young children were both diagnosed with cancer just hours apart.
Steve and Kirsty Lee were enjoying their “hectic” life raising their four-year-old son and five-year-old daughter when their world came to a sudden standstill last Tuesday.
Early that morning, Mrs Lee received the devastating phone call that a lump she discovered was stage 3 breast cancer, family friend Sonya Kohlhagen told 9News.
Later the same day, Mr Lee was diagnosed with rectal cancer after a colonoscopy highlighted some abnormalities.
The couple, both aged 44, will begin treatment in December, with Mrs Lee facing a mastectomy and a minimum of 12 months of chemotherapy.
Mr Lee will undergo six months of chemotherapy and radiation, Ms Kohlhagen told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“They are positive in terms of prognosis, they are just in shock processing what the next 12 months will be like. Both being sick at the same time, trying to support each other as well as care for the children,” she said, adding that neither felt ill before their cancer diagnoses.
Mr Lee, who works as a timber salesman, and Ms Lee, a government worker, are worried about how the invasive treatments will affect their active lifestyle.
“ They go for bike rides and to the beach, so the thought they will have times where they can't get out of bed, I think that's what gets them,” Ms Kohlhagen told 9News.
Friends rally to support couple
The family friend has created a GoFundMe to help the couple pay for their rent, medical bills and childcare while they are both off work “fighting the fight that their kids need them to win”.
“This will be tough. It’s tough for everyone going through it. They have limited leave entitlements from their employers. They’ll probably need to move out of their house,” Ms Kohlhagen wrote on the fundraiser, which has amassed $20,000 of its $30,000 goal.
“But to see them go through it at the same time, and with kids at that age, that’s what really breaks my heart.”
The GoFundMe has been inundated with comments from Aussies and people around the world wishing Mr and Mrs Lee a “healthy recovery”.
“Wishing you both the best outcome possible. That is devastating news for anyone to handle let alone both of the providers in the family. Sending love and prayers,” one woman said.
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