By Justin Flynn
Amelia Banks was diagnosed with brain cancer five years ago.
Two major surgeries later and an oncologist who told her to get her affairs in order, and Amelia is still here, still fighting and still moving forward.
The 35-year-old Ocean Grove mother of two was living in Perth with her husband Ollie and 35 weeks pregnant when she was told the bad news.
She started feeling weak on the right side of her body, which prompted her to visit her GP and that’s when a tumour was found in her brain.
“I can’t sit down and wallow in self pity – I have a life to live and need to show my kids that life is worth living,” Amelia said.
Amelia’s oncologist told her to get her will in order and “not to go out and get another mortgage”. The family – including sons Harry, 6, and Teddy, 4 – left WA and moved back to Amelia’s native Ocean Grove. Five years after being diagnosed, she is still here and still fighting.
“It’s not a sob story, it’s a crappy story, but you have to make the best of it,” she said.
“We want the kids to know that life is worth living.”
“We chose to live in hope, not in fear,” Ollie said.
Amelia and her family will walk in the Walk 4 Brain Cancer event in Melbourne on 12 November.
They desperately want to raise awareness for brain cancer, which kills more children than any other disease in Australia and kills more people under 40 than any other cancer.
Despite the statistics, government funding for brain cancer is at just five per cent for all cancers.
“The outcomes are so poor that they may not want to throw money at it,” Ollie said.
“We need to bring awareness to a deadly disease that there is no cure for, so we want to help find a cure and offer better treatment,” Amelia said.
While Amelia and Ollie said that it’s not a matter of if, but when, the cancer returns, they can’t stop living life and have been touched by the support from Ocean Grove.
Amelia suffers epilepsy as a result of one of her surgeries and is unable to drive.
“We’ve just been blown away by the support of the community here in Ocean Grove,” she said.
“From people bringing around meals, doing cleaning rosters, driving me places, and just general love and well wishes, we just feel so supported.”
The Banks family plans to organise a similar Walk 4 Brain Cancer event on the Bellarine as early as next year.
But for now, they want your help to raise awareness.
To donate to Team Amelia in the Melbourne Walk 4 Brain Cancer, go to www.walk4braincancer.com.au/my-fundraising/4929/Amelia-s-Team.
Another way to help is buy a beanie for brain cancer at www.carriesbeanies4braincancer.com/