Picture of Shirley Baskett
 Dec 16, 2021

From shock and despair, to giving back

A diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in October left Shirley Baskett shocked and her husband devastated.

“It seemed a puzzle as I did not have a lot of symptoms, which I have learned is common,” Shirley says.

“The uncertainty about how much time I may have left on this earth was something to digest.”

She finished five weeks of treatment on 7 South and has three more rounds of chemotherapy to go.

But it hasn’t been the treatment or side effects which has brought her despair – rather her tiny, deep veins which are impossible for clinicians to find.

“In the hospital there were many attempts over my five weeks, however, not one staff member was successful, including the doctors with great experience, and not a drop of blood was extracted from my veins in the entire time I was in 7 South,” Shirley says.

“I am someone who has major problems, even normally – I have had people wanting to try my feet, and once someone even pondered my eye!”

Feeling well, Shirley is keen to give back and has started fundraising for a Digital Vascular Ultrasound – a handheld device clinicians can use to see a patient’s veins digitally and see where the needle is going to reach the vein.

“It would be useful if I could enable the hospital to purchase one for the ward, and it may not benefit me, but others who have a similar ordeal would be helped in the future,” she says.

The device is $4,000 and Shirley has raised $568 so far.

“I will continue to look for as many avenues as I can to raise the money for such a device for 7 South,” Shirley says.

“The staff at ONJ were outstanding – every one of them, from the nurses to the physios, to the people who brought cups of tea or wheeled me about for tests – they were wonderful.”

To find out more about the fundraiser, visit Shirley’s fundraising page.