CANCER sufferer Michelle Ballantyne is determined the disease is not going to rob her children of their mother.
"Cancer will absolutely not cheat me out of seeing my kids grow up," Mrs Ballantyne said.
The dedicated Careflight administrator and mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable cancer.
"I am going to fight for my life," she said.
"I'll decide when it's time for me to go."
Her cancer began in the colon, progressed to the liver and she only recently received news that it had spread to her lung.
"I had no symptoms," she told the Daily News.
"It has been a real blow. I've always been strong and supported others.
"It's strange to be comforting others about my own possible demise.
"It's hard when your seven-year-old child asks if you are going to die and then asks what will happen to her."
Mrs Ballantyne has two daughters aged nine and seven.
She is still reeling from her mother's death from cancer 18 months ago.
Friends say her only real hope of survival is Photodynamic Therapy in China, which costs $17,000 a treatment and she requires three treatments.
This cost does not include travel and accommodation.
A group of her friends is working to raise money for her family to help relieve some of the financial pressure.
"We are also determined to try and raise the $80,000 required to get her to China for treatment," said friend and co-worker Renee Buckingham.
"We believe, with exposure and persistence, we could raise this money and potentially save a young mother's life."
Mrs Ballantyne is pleading for others to "listen to their bodies".
"Don't take any chances," she said.
"Don't put yourself through the terror I've experienced.
"It's an emotional rollercoaster.
"I can handle my mortality but it's what my family could go through that worries me."
Willing helpers can show their support on Smiles for Michelle Day, which includes barefoot bowls, an auction and raffles, on Sunday, August 5 at Tugun Bowls Club starting at midday.
Donations are also welcome. Phone Renee on 0421 381 023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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