Shirley fights for life and comes out on top! 

After a long battle, Shirley celebrates becoming cancer free.

July 10, 2023

The sun is shining, and balloons are swaying in the wind. The smell of decadent chocolate cake is in the air while everyone’s smiling, laughing, and having a good time. 

You might think they are celebrating a birthday, but the party at Aruma’s North Rocks Supported Independent Living (SIL) house is a celebration of life. 

Our customer Shirley recently received the fantastic news that after a long battle, she is finally cancer free. 

“When I got the news that Shirley was cancer free, the first thing I did was send a cake to the house. The staff and I then organised a surprise party. Shirley loved it and had fun celebrating,” saidManager of Shared Living, Hana Hayek.  

It was an excellent opportunity for everyone to celebrate an incredible milestone and how far Shirley has come. 

“Finding out Shirley had pancreatic cancer, was very scary. It was a massive challenge for the staff, but they did an amazing job supporting her through the journey,” said Manager Shared Living, Charmaigne Pernez. 

Unfortunately, according to Cancer Australia, pancreatic cancer is the eighth most common cancer in Australia, with around 4,000 people diagnosed annually and the treatment process is gruelling.  

The hours Shirley would usually spend at work, out in the community, looking after her pets, or with family down the coast became replaced with doctors’ appointments and rest.  

One of the hardest parts for Shirley was learning a new routine and rehoming some of her beloved animals. These two things, however, have now become her biggest goals. 

“She is a pet lover who looks after her cat so well. Shirley had to give up her two hamsters and 12 birds to focus on her health. Now that she is gaining strength, she is considering getting a bird. I know she also wants to get back to working in supported employment. Seeing her returning to her old self is amazing and we’ll support her with whatever she chooses,” continued Charmaigne. 

We know that Shirley can achieve whatever she puts her mind to, so we look forward to seeing her out and about living her best life.

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