A local teacher’s battle with breast cancer

Mrs Blanch and her family received some devastating news just before Christmas.

A local teacher’s battle with breast cancer

For many the week leading up to Christmas is a joyous time. A time to enjoy with family and friends, eat delicious food, have a break from work, and to look forward to a visit from the big man in the red suit! But for the Blanch family from Dapto, this period provided some devastating news.

On Friday 22nd December 2017 Leia Blanch, a teacher from Mount Terry Public School in Albion Park was diagnosed with breast cancer. The type of cancer she has is aggressive and fast growing. Her specialists have recommended treatment with chemotherapy and targeted treatment called herceptin and perjeta followed by surgery, radiotherapy and further hormonal treatment. Currently perjeta is not covered under the PBS for Leia and she will have to self fund this medication or otherwise she will not be able to receive it. It will cost thousands of dollars out of her pocket. Without this drug her chances of beating this cancer and it not coming back may not be as good. Leia’s family and friends immediately set up a mycause page, to help the family fund Leia’s treatment costs.

Leia and her husband Shannon will both require time off work during Leia’s chemotherapy and surgery which will significantly impact this little family and put them in severe financial hardship. The family has two sons Leo who is 5 years old and Dylan who is just 14months old.

“Shannon is currently working as a mature age apprentice and unfortunately has hardly any leave entitlements.” Says Leia’s sister Nicole. “They are also currently in the process of renovating their home, which has come to a halt due to financial constraints and this diagnosis. At the moment their ensuite is in pieces and Leia will need a functioning bathroom close to the bedroom especially during her chemotherapy. This could not have happened at a worse time. “

Leia’s sister Nicole applied for support for the family via the Illawarra Community Foundation from the funds raised during Convoy. The funding committee agreed to cover food and fuel costs for the family to help free up the additional funds the family requires for the targeted treatment medication.

“After what would have been a stressful and emotional Christmas for the family we are proud to support them with Leia’s upcoming treatment,” said Convoy manager Mark Rigby. “We know the family has some tough times ahead, and hopefully this support provided from the funds raised in Convoy will take some of the pressure off and allow them to focus on Leia’s health”

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