2021 Fundraising Ambassadors – “hope to one day beat blood cancers for good”
Allysha Zirbel with her children Braxen and Samara
As a local volunteer co-ordinator of Shave for A Cure and Light the Night, Allysha Zirbel gives back to the Leukaemia Foundation for the support she, her husband Jason and children Braxen and Samara received during Jason’s treatment. Sadly, Jason lost his battle with Leukaemia in December 2017.
Allysha shares her ‘gold lantern’ speech from the 2019 Light the Night in Mackay.
“Tonight, I feel honoured to share the special meaning of the gold lantern with you all.
The gold lantern is to remember, reflect and share the memory of your loved ones. The person you carry in your heart may be a grandparent, a parent, a child, your husband or wife, your companion or partner, your friend, your sister, your brother or another close relative.
If you are holding a gold lantern tonight, you are on a journey that has changed your life forever. The days, weeks, months and years that pass do not stop you from loving that person who fought so bravely to stay but had no choice to leave their loved ones behind. The pain of this loss is intense and at times it can seem unbearable.
But you are not alone.
Look around at the sea of lanterns that surround you. Look at all of the people who share your pain and are here to support you.
The Leukaemia Foundation is also here to help those who have lost a loved one, through their range of grief services.
Through this, we hope to one day beat blood cancers for good.
Tonight, I share your pain, tonight I walk for my husband, the father of my children who was taken too soon.
Jason was diagnosed in March 2016 with Primary Central Nerva System Lymphoma. Within 24hrs our lives changed.
He had gone to work on the Saturday morning and at lunch time I received a phone call from his boss telling me something was wrong with Jas. He sounded drunk he said. Jason came home and he was cranky, he had no idea why everyone was worried.
I didn’t even let him in the front door, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
By Sunday lunch time we were in Townsville and our blood cancer journey began. Jason’s treatment required us to be in Townsville for 9 months of that year. If it wasn’t for the Leukemia foundation, I don’t know what we would have done. They gave us somewhere to stay, they gave us support, they kept us going. They even gave us Christmas. They organised a big Christmas party with presents for the kids. Even Santa came.
I will forever be grateful for that, as it ended up being our last Christmas with Jason.
After 10 months of treatment and countless setbacks we were given the news. Go enjoy your time you have left. So, we did. We never gave up trying any treatment that came our way. But we went and lived and made memories.
Jason was lucky he was able to finish his bucket list from New Zealand to Vegas and many other countries in between. He did it. We were in Japan on our last trip when we needed to get home quick. A week later, on the 9th December 2017 Jason was taken by blood cancer. Jason fought every day and never lost hope. Because of the Leukemia Foundation we were able to concentrate on Jason’s treatment.
Tonight, I am honoured to light a candle to symbolise the love we all felt, the tender moments shared and the laughter and tears that come with caring. We need a little light in our lives, let this candle and all of the lanterns around you be a spark of hope in dark times. May you carry this light deep within your heart, even after leaving here tonight.”