A difficult time for a young couple

After losing a baby at 37 weeks of age, nothing could prepare this young couple for what was to follow.

A difficult time for a young couple

In 2017 Ben and Hayley Oakley from Barrack Heights were expecting the birth of their first child. Unfortunately for the couple their dreams of parenthood were shattered, when the child was born stillborn on the 11th of November at 36 weeks gestation. A few days after the birth, Hayley began suffering severe abdominal pain. After several tests the couple received even more devastating news, that Hayley was diagnosed with B-Cell follicular Lymphoma.

Follicular lymphoma typically affects people aged over 50, with the average age at diagnosis being 60 years. Most people with follicular lymphoma are aged over 65 and it is slightly more common in men than in women. At only 34 years of age, and female it is uncommon for someone like Hayley to be diagnosed with this condition. The causes of follicular lymphoma are unknown. It is not due to infection and cannot be passed on to other people.

Hayley is currently undergoing chemotherapy sessions, supported by her partner Ben. Having a child is extremely important to the couple, so prior to Hayley commencing chemotherapy treatment in February, they completed IVF treatment and embryo freezing to ensure chemotherapy will not affect Hayley’s fertility and to keep their dream of starting a family alive.

Understandably Hayley is not physically or emotionally fir for work and with ben taking time off work to support Hayley’s ongoing treatment, the couple has been struggling to make ends meet with only one wage. Aware of the funding available through the Illawarra Community Foundation, Meagan Rourke from the Leukaemia Foundation submitted an application for support for the couple. Their application was viewed by the Foundation’s funding committee and the couple will now receive food and fuel vouchers to help ease the financial burden during Hayley’s treatment. Although Ben is working, he has to take a lot of time off to care for Hayley and attend appointments. Neither Ben nor Hayley have immediate family in the Illawarra to help provide this support, “says Meagan.

“Losing a baby at 36 weeks gestation is an extremely unfortunate thing to happen to any young family,” said Convoy manager, Mark Rigby. “I can’t even imagine the emotional stress, trying to come to terms with that, and then receiving a Lymphoma diagnosis shortly after would cause. We are happy to support this young family in need, and hope their dreams of starting a family become a reality soon”

Funding information for families and individuals affected by potentially life threatening medical conditions is available on the www.illawarraconvoy.com.au website.

To support Ben & Hayley visit their fundraising page and make a donation to assist with ongoing treatment costs https://www.youcaring.com/benandhayley-1064478