As a constant in her life for 12 years, Anna Tarrant wasted no time in getting Lily to the emergency vet last Friday morning when her cat went "completely limp" in her arms after suffering from severe renal failure.
Devastated, the cat owner was offered two options — euthanise her beloved cat or have Lily undergo extensive medical treatments at a hefty price.
"I said, 'As long as she's pain free and comfortable I wanted to keep her here,'" Anna told Yahoo News Australia. "My entire world was falling apart in front of my eyes".
Sadly the 39-year-old is no stranger to medical rooms after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 12 years ago, with Lily being a comfort "since day dot" after her first major brain surgery.
After initially being given five years to live, Anna has persevered through rigorous radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as well as four intense brain surgeries with one requiring her to remain awake throughout, she told Yahoo.
Cat's medical bills: $20,000 and growing
Much like her owner, Lily has already undergone surgery, with the cat having her ruptured kidney removed. A second surgery is required if there is any hope for the pet's survival.
Alongside medication and hospital fees, the financial burden is being shouldered by Anna who had to leave her corporate job at the height of her career as her own health deteriorated.
In a desperate act to hold onto her cat, she has started a GoFundMe page off the vet's recommendation, hoping to raise funds so Lily can continue to provide "unconditional" support during her difficult cancer journey. Likewise, she says she's adamant that she won't give up on her cat.
"She's not just a barbie doll that I can put in the bin," she said, before adding, "Lily has a heartbeat, a personality".
With upcoming veterinary appointments, the emotional and financial pressures continue to mount as Anna defiantly tries to care for her cat.
She has even cancelled her "bucket list, trip-of-a-lifetime" that radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O helped pay for after appearing on their show due to her deteriorating mobility and increasing medical fees.
Despite all that, Anna shared with Yahoo that she is remaining optimistic and finds the sense of purpose really valuable. Alongside her fight for Lily, she is currently creating an app to help fellow cancer patients meet with one another.
"I want to help people and leave a legacy. Hopefully this cancer support app will help," she said.
"After having cancer so many times I believe I have a significant insight into what patients need. Sharing my story and what I’m trying to achieve seems to be really impacting others in a positive way".
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