‘I don’t want my daughter watching me die’
"I DON'T want my daughter watching me die."
Two months ago Nicole Azzopardi was told her cancer had returned.
Instead of the aggressive bone cancer in her knee she had spent the past 18 months fighting - four weeks after her daughter Summer was born - she now had secondary lung cancer, a sarcoma spot in each lung.
The cells were also now immune to chemotherapy, with any further traditional treatment a temporary fix.
"I was devastated," the 29-year-old said.
"I was told that it would have a very low chance of it reoccurring.
"Then within 12 months to have it back, to be told that. It was going to be my last surgery, that was my final hurdle, with rehabilitation, then we could move on with our lives."
Instead, doctors told her that she has a one-in-three chance of beating the cancer with the available treatments.
Even then it is likely to return every three to four years and through each course of treatment she would get weaker, she said.
Ms Azzopardi said her only option was to try a form of immunotherapy to help her rid herself of the disease forever.
But there was a catch. The only immunotherapy available is in China, as Australia is still in trial stages and doesn't accept her rare form of cancer.
To take part will cost the small business owner $150,000.
"Put yourself in my position. I'm a single mum, I've done the treatment before," she said.
"It's the most difficult thing. You're tired all the time, sick all the time. I lived my daughter's first eight months as a bystander.
"She's getting older so she's going to know I'm sick. I don't want my daughter watching me die. I want to be a mum and not have her live in fear I'm going to get sick again."
Since Ms Azzopardi was diagnosed with cancer in December 2017 she has lived with her parents at Pacific Pines and endured "intense" forms of chemotherapy.
She had leg surgery to repair the damaged bone with titanium.
During a nine-hour surgery, surgeons replaced her entire knee, replaced 80 per cent of her tibia and removed her entire fibia, as well as 40 per cent of her femur.
She also lost her inner artery and her calf muscle was moved to cover the metal plates.
It left her with a drop foot, which was corrected in April this year - two weeks before she found out she had cancer again.
Ms Azzopardi said the Chinese immunotherapy would be tailored to her particular disease, where they could create a "super bug" to flush through her system and fight hidden cancer cells.
"My options have run out," she said.
"I don't want Summer to constantly live in hospitals, don't want her to see me grow up sick."
Ms Azzopardi said she would go to China as soon as the money was raised. In the meantime she would continue working on her natural skincare business Hello Sunny.
To help Ms Azzopardi raise the money, click here.