Mum’s tragic late pregnancy cancer diagnosis
DURING the home stretch of her pregnancy, Sam Bladwell was delivered a devastating blow that's plunged the Brisbane mum and her young family into heartbreaking uncertainty.
During a regular late term check-up with her doctor a few weeks ago, Ms Bladwell described a shortness of breath and some pain in her back but thought nothing of it.
The otherwise healthy 36-year-old was sent for tests as a precaution. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer with a mutation of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor.
It's an incredibly aggressive cancer that came out of nowhere. Ms Bladwell has never been a smoker.
"In order to start treatment straight away, Sam had to give birth nine weeks prematurely to a beautiful baby girl, Cecilia," Ms Bladwell's colleague and friend Jason Olsson-Seeto said.
Her new arrival, nicknamed Cece, remains in a neonatal intensive care unit while Ms Bladwell and her husband Cam prepare for their new future.
"Sam is now at home and her cancer treatment has started," Mr Olsson-Seeto said. "Hopefully Cece will be home very soon to join her brother Max and her parents."
Mr Olsson-Seeto and the wider team at Queensland Law Society, where Ms Bladwell works, have started a fundraiser to support the family through the difficult and expensive months ahead.
It has already raised more than $41,000 and the money go towards medical costs for her and Cece, as well as emerging cancer treatments that aren't covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
She will be unable to return to work for the foreseeable future, so the funds will help cover the family's day-to-day costs.
"Fighting cancer is expensive, having a premmy baby is expensive and not being able to work is expensive. Everything in this situation is expensive."
He said some of the proceeds will help to fund "making memories as a family".
"Sam and Cam have deliberately not asked about prognosis," Mr Olsson-Seeto said.
"They plan to work hard to shrink the cancer as much as possible and keep it under control as long as possible, so Sam can access any future treatments that might lead to a cure."
The GoFundMe campaign has been flooded with messages of support from loved ones and strangers alike.