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 Aug 9, 2018

‘Oasis on the path to wellness’

Ringwood North's Jessica Gilchrist was a patient at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre.

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2015, three days before Christmas. 

I was told I had adenocarcinoma cervical cancer, the rarest one.

I had two options and they both brought me to tears and meant complications with having children.

I had an operation booked in for January 2016.

The cancer had been found in my lymph nodes. This meant that I couldn’t ever give birth and I had to go through six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

At this stage I was exhausted, emotional and seriously ready to give up.

My next operation was a radical hysterectomy in February, and in March, I started radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre every weekday for eight weeks.

The ONJ Centre was the most remarkable, warm and friendly place.

Every day I walked in, the ladies at the front desk would greet me by name with a massive smile. At times there would be a massage therapist to give you a back and shoulder massage while waiting.

During chemotherapy, you would get a personal nurse, there were volunteers walking around asking if you would like a cup of tea and biscuits, they would bring you lunch, and they even had music therapists who you could listen to songs with and sing with.

It made my entire cancer experience feel like I was not alone, like I was going through it with one big family of nurses. They knew exactly what they were doing and they cared.

I am taking part in the ONJ Centre’s Wellness Walk and Research Run on September 16 at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus.

I would do anything to help this centre and make the lives of their patients easier while going through such a huge event in their life. It makes me feel awesome and I also get to see all the people that helped me on my journey.

- Jessica Gilchrist 

Thanks to Kiel Egging, Maroondah Leader

To take part in the walk on September 16, at La Trobe University Bundoora, and support patients like Jessica, visit the web address below.