For the love of Leanne
By NERIDA BLOK
SCOTT Bradshaw is wearing out sneakers to help save the life of his 28-year-old fiancee, Leanne Myles.
Leanne, a former Lismore girl and ex-Kadina High School student now living in Brisbane, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer two months ago after the birth of her second child.
Doctors told the couple Leanne's best chance for survival was to take a drug called Herceptin, estimated to cost $53,000.
Unable to afford the drug and too proud to simply ask for money, Scott decided to earn it.
Last Saturday, the 33year-old Australian Army soldier set off on a 1000kilometre fundraising walk from Brisbane to Sydney, and will travel from Tintenbar to Woodburn today.
"Without this drug there is a 30 per cent chance of survival, but with it there's 90 per cent," Scott said.
"We know there is no guarantee, but I wanted to put her in the best possible chance of beating it as I could."
Ironically, Scott said the treatment, which increases survivability and decreases the chance of a relapse, was only offered to patients in their final stages of cancer.
"To be told that you can only get this drug once she becomes terminally ill was heart-breaking," he said.
"It was ridiculous. They will give it to you to prolong life, but not to save a life."
However, before setting off on his walk, Scott and Leanne shared their story on Channel Nine's A Current Affair. After the television show aired, the couple received an anonymous donation to cover the cost of the treatment.
Scott said he decided to go ahead with the walk despite the donation, keen to raise money for other women with breast cancer who required Herceptin.
"Between us we realised there's a bigger picture," he said. "We really are determined to try and help other families in our situation."
Scott, who plans to reach Sydney on October 31, said they had already raised $75,000 towards the appeal.
Leanne, meanwhile, has this week been recovering with friends in Brisbane after a second bout of chemotherapy.
She said everything had been so overwhelming to start with, but she said Scott had been fantastic.
Now in her sixth week of chemotherapy, Leanne said her treatment of Herceptin would start just before Christmas.
"It has to be administered in week 12 of chemotherapy because of the additional strain it places on your heart," she said.
Leanne said she was feeling positive about the future.
"I feel I'm in the best place to have a win," she said. "It's not an option for me not to win."
Stopping yesterday to donate $50 towards the appeal while travelling the Pacific Highway at St Helena was Jason Ross, of Sydney.
"I saw it on A Current Affair last week and it was a pretty touching story," he said.
Donations can be made to: Commonwealth Bank Australia, Leanne M Myles, BSB: 06-4112 A/C: 210137749. Cheques and money orders can be posted to: PO Box 290, Holland Park, Brisbane, Queensland, 4121.