Michelle Cummins promotes Daffodil Day

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Original Article by Courtney Crane, from: Geelong Advertiser, August 21, 2014.
Michelle Cummins was handed her greatest gift, and her greatest burden, on the same day.

“Four years ago my husband woke up to find me having a seizure, and when I went to hospital I discovered I was pregnant,” she said. “But I also had more tests, and later that day I was informed I had a mass the size of a golf ball in my brain.”

Fast forward to 2014, and Mrs Cummins, from Armstrong Creek, has a beautiful three-year-old “angel” — her daughter, Chelsea. She also continues to live, each and every day, with the inoperable grade 2 tumour and painful partial seizures caused as a result.

“Going on stats, the average lifespan from day one of diagnosis is seven years,” said Mrs Cummins, 34, who works as a scientist at Deakin University.

“It’s a struggle and the future is uncertain, but I know there are people worse off than me and I’m trying to do things to help others, because apart from living healthily I know there’s not much I can do to help myself.

“Being present for my daughter and having an influence on her life is the most important thing in the world right now. I’ve said to my husband that if I make it to 40, I’ll be having a huge party, but I just want to be here for her as long as I possibly can.” 

Mrs Cummins — who has taken part in the Cancer Council’s Forgotten Cancers Project — is sharing her own story ahead of Daffodil Day tomorrow to spread awareness for support services in the Geelong community.

“Brain cancer sounds really big and scary, and people don’t like discussing it,” she said.

“I don’t have a lot of hope that I’ll survive past 40 or 50, but the more awareness and research there is, the more likely it is that people like me will one day have a much better chance of recovery.”

Geelong-based brain cancer charity, Peace of Mind Foundation, has also helped Mrs Cummins establish a support network and focus her energy on fundraising to provide counselling, financial aid and in-home assistance for fellow battlers.

Despite putting on a brave face, and a determination to continue living as normally as possible, Mrs Cummins admits the diagnosis has turned her world upside down.

“I have terrible scan anxiety because I never know if it’s going to reveal that things are getting worse, and my husband has had to make big career sacrifices to provide stability for the family,” she said.

“But for others who see me, I look completely normal and they’d never know what’s going on underneath the surface. I think it’s so important that people know there’s a lot of us out there going through things they could never have imagined.”

Original Article from the Geelong Advertiser can be found here