Emma got married knowing she’d never have kids or live happily ever after – because she has advanced melanoma, an aggressive cancer for which there is no cure.
“Most wedding vows talk about growing old together and starting a family. But we knew that ours couldn’t be like that. Instead, we talked about living in the moment.”
Before her diagnosis, Emma was in East Timor, changing lives by volunteering at a rehabilitation centre for people with physical disabilities. Emma has always wanted to help people, and volunteering was the start of what she hoped would be a long and fulfilling career in occupational therapy.
When she came home to Australia for her sister’s wedding in early 2013, Emma took the opportunity to get her regular skin check.
The doctors found a mole that was stage 1 melanoma. It was shallow and as Emma had always been careful about sun exposure she thought that she’d be fine.
“They got everything out so there was no big concern. I went back to East Timor, and promised to come home every three months for a professional skin check.”
Emma did just that, but almost a year later she found a lump under her left arm.
A full body scan revealed cancerous lesions on Emma’s liver and the cancer was much more advanced than anyone could have predicted. She was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma – and was told that there was no cure.
She began treatment, but within three months of being diagnosed, the cancer had spread throughout most of her major organs. Her original prognosis was that she would only live for another six months.
Emma was able to get on a clinical trial that is currently prolonging her life – so that she can spend more precious time with her husband and family.
Emma is using some of her remaining time to raise vital funds for cancer research.