Close friends of Mary Gardner, The Echo’s nature writer for the last 12 years and researcher of local ecology, are rallying to help her cope with a debilitating bone-marrow cancer.
This unusual progressive disease means she has both severe anaemia, causing fatigue, plus neutropenia, chronic low white blood cell supply, and little defence against infections.
At this time, only supportive treatments are possible: regular blood transfusions and antibiotics as required.
These help manage but cannot cure the cancer.
Mary’s friends have set up a Facebook Portal Mambe for Mary.
Mambe is Bundjalung for edge of the beach.
Exploring the beach is one of Mary’s passions and doctoral research and she continues to write about all that for The Echo.
Ever the researcher, Mary now also writes short updates and insights about living with this cancer for the social-media page.
Social-media are a controversial tool but this page is a small experiment, she says.
The first aim is to co-ordinate help for Mary.
The second is to offer a model for others whose lives are transformed by serious illness. This page provides information about the cancer itself. It also helps carers and close friends to organise support and fundraising.
Current concerns and costs are about transport, shopping, and weekly cleaning as well as raising funds first of all for a reverse-cycle air-conditioner unit ($1,400 to go).
The woman who loved going out in all weather can no longer tolerate temperature extremes.
Nor can she manage all the housework to control the mould, dust, and bacteria that compromise her health each day.
To stay informed, to volunteer help, and to donate funds please join Mambe for Mary (facebook.com/MAMBE-for-Mary-333825207280982).