It has been a little over two years now that Rob, Brooke, their family and friends’ lives changed forever. Who could ever imagine that at 39 years of age an incidence of blurred vision and a quick trip to the doctor would lead to an MRI scan of his brain ''that lit up like a Christmas tree'' (as Rob had said). The doctors were truly amazed at the extent to which the cancer had taken a hold of Rob's brain without having caused significant side effects other than blurred vision. Their belief was that the cancer had been around for a long time.
From the very beginning of his journey, Rob has been drawn to the incredible work that the Mark Hughes Foundation is doing to bring attention to (think NRL Beanie Round) and fund research for Brain Cancer. The statistics are scary:
• Brain Cancer kills more children than any other disease
• Brain Cancer kills more Australians under 40 than any other cancer
• Only 2 in 10 people diagnosed with Brain Cancer will survive at least 5 years
• Brain Cancer receives less than 5% of all federal government research funding
• Brain Cancer survival rates have increased just 1% over the past 30 years
Let’s take a minute and rewind. It was only 5 years earlier that Rob was completing Ironman events, always pushing to be the best version of himself. His career was taking off and like most of us getting married and raising a family was also in his sights... and now this...
The diagnosis was never good although Rob has taken it all in his stride with a strong sense of himself, his family, his attitude and humour (mostly his humour). Just like with Ironman events, Rob has pushed his body to the limits over the past 2 years fighting this cruel disease. He has taken 3 surgeries, 6 weeks of radiation and round after round of chemotherapy with amazing strength and resilience. The doctor’s decision to operate followed by successive rounds of radiation and chemotherapy meant that (as Rob likes to put it) ''he has hit the trifecta of brain cancer treatments... chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy''.
Rob has been very lucky to have strong support from his wife Brooke and their families throughout this challenging time. When lives are turned upside down by a disease like this, we all question why and the answer to this is ''we don't know''. The answers are still out there waiting to be found and Rob is asking all of his family and friends to help fund research to find a cure.
Rob would like to ask all of you to help raise awareness and funding for Brain Cancer by giving generously to the Mark Hughes Foundation on his behalf. This cause means so much to him and he hopes we can stop this from happening to other loving, caring and generous people just like Rob.