family

Two young children face being orphaned after both parents develop terminal cancer

One of a parent’s greatest fears is dying when their children are young. They worry about not being there to support their kids as they grow and help guide them through their transition into adulthood. For this family, that nightmare has become a two-fold reality, as both parents developed stage-four cancer just months apart from one another. Now, they are fighting for their lives – and the livelihood of their two young daughters. (1)

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Both Parents Develop Cancer Just Months Apart

Adam Graveley left his home in the UK in 2007 to fly to Australia for the adventure of a lifetime. He spent two years traveling around the country and loved it so much that he decided to stay. He set-up his new life in Perth, on the West Coast of Australia, after meeting his now-wife Caitlin. (1)

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The couple got married in 2014 and then added two little girls to their family. Shortly after giving birth to their second daughter, however, Caitlin began experiencing lower abdominal pain. After visiting the doctor in November, she received devastating news: A stage four bowel cancer diagnosis that has also spread to her liver. All of this just five weeks after giving birth. (2)

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Three months later, Adam also began experiencing pain in his side. Thinking it was maybe an ulcer or his appendix, he went to the hospital to get checked out. This was when the news went from bad to worse. Adam received a stage-four pancreatic cancer diagnosis, which has also spread to his liver. (2)

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With both parents having developed cancer, they are faced with the idea that their two children may grow up without their parents. (1)

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Read: Kindergarten teacher keeps teaching from hospital room while undergoing chemotherapy

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Advocating for Regular Check-Ups

Caitlin says she had actually been experiencing abdominal pain for quite some time but assumed it was pregnancy-related and didn’t think much of it. (2)

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“The tumour in her colon was quite large so they reckon she’d had it for over a year and a half, but because she was pregnant it could’ve masked the pain,” Adam’s sister Emma said in an interview. “She did say, looking back, she did have abdominal cramps but she thought it was to do with pregnancy.” (2)

Adam, unfortunately, had no symptoms until he began experiencing the pain in his side. The location of the tumor meant that he experienced no pain until the cancer spread to his liver. (2)

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“His liver is covered in lesions,” explained Emma. “It’s the worst cancer you can get, which is pancreatic cancer; it was just awful.” (2)

A Fundraiser of Hope

The family is now hosting a fundraiser on justgiving.com to help the family with expenses and also to fly Adam’s British family out to Australia. They haven’t been able to go yet because of COVID restrictions, but are hoping to get there in April. (1)

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Caitlin had to rush four-month-old Fern to bottle feeding because she could no longer breastfeed while receiving chemotherapy treatments. The couple goes to weekly chemotherapy sessions together, and friends and family members in Perth take care of their two-year-old and four-month-old daughters during that time. (2)

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Caitlin and Adam are speaking out about getting regular screens to catch things early. Both are under the age of 40, are healthy, fit people, and had no prior health concerns. (2)

“They were very into fitness and health, they eat organic, but it’s hit them both so hard,” says Emma. (2)

Cancer can happen to anyone. Hopefully, it is not too late for this young family.

Keep Reading: From burn victim to beauty contestant. Just Beautiful

  1. Weʼre raising £20,000 to Help for Adam and Caitlin’s battle with Cancer.” Just Giving. Hannah Sutch.
  2. Couple in their thirties face prospect of leaving their two young children without a mum and dad – after they were BOTH diagnosed with terminal cancer just three months apart.” Daily Mail. Chloe Morgan. March , 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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