AS a senior health worker at Warrnambool Base Hospital and the Lyndoch aged-care facility, Brian Gorman saw lots of people with serious illnesses.
But when he was diagnosed at the age of 59 with the blood cancers leukaemia and lymphoma in 2006, he was still shocked at the impact his diagnosis had on him and his family.
“I was initially being treated for something minor but when someone tells you that you have cancer, that word cancer changes your life. It changes the life of your family,” he said.
Mr Gorman retired from his work and underwent chemotherapy and photodynamic treatment over three years to combat the skin rashes, lumps and bumps, fatigue and night sweats that were symptoms of the diseases.
He has been in remission for three years and enjoys good quality of life.
That quality has come after he changed his lifestyle to include plenty of rest, regular exercise and a proper diet.
Mr Gorman said research into blood cancers was delivering better outcomes for people with the diseases.
He urged people to support the Light the Night event at Lake Pertobe on Friday, October 12, to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation’s research into blood cancers.
He also wants the event to raise awareness about the prevalence of blood cancers which are the second-most common cause of cancer death in Australia.
Every 46 minutes, another person is diagnosed and every two hours someone dies from blood cancer.
Early diagnosis was critical to good treatment outcomes, Mr Gorman said.
At the Warrnambool Light the Night event, participants will carry coloured lanterns on a short walk around Lake Pertobe to remember those who have died from blood cancer, and to support those living with the disease.
During the evening, Mr Gorman will speak about his experiences battling leukaemia and lymphoma.
Light the Night will start at Lake Pertobe from 5pm on October 12. The family event will include live music, a barbecue, cake stall, raffles and a screening of the movie Toy Story 3 from 8pm for a gold coin donation.
Event organiser Laura Levett said she hoped to raise $10,000 for the work of the Leukaemia Foundation. For more information phone Mrs Levett on 0407 310 737.