By Aleksandra Bliszczyk
A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $15,000 in 10 days for cancer treatment for 39-year-old Broadford resident Darren Daynes.
Mr Daynes and his wife Bianca Daynes, who recently opened their Protex Garage Doors business in Kilmore, have been flooded with donations after their next-door neighbour set up a GoFundMe page calling for support for the father of two.
“Within six hours there was $4000,” Ms Daynes said.
“The amount of support we’ve received from friends and strangers – even people from overseas have donated – it’s just been incredibly overwhelming the kindness of people.”
Mr Daynes was diagnosed with stage-four oesophageal cancer in mid-February, after developing a persistent cough earlier in the year.
The pair both caught colds while camping, but Mr Daynes didn’t shake the symptoms for weeks.
“For about two months he’d be up for two hours of the night coughing, so much he was vomiting,” Ms Daynes said.
When he started getting pain in his ribs, his doctor sent Mr Daynes for a lung scan.
“His lungs were all fine but at the bottom of the CT scan they caught a glimpse of his liver, it just happened to be at the bottom of the screen, and thought it was worth getting a closer look,” Ms Daynes said.
Follow-up scans and ultrasounds revealed more than 10 masses on his liver, some the size of tennis balls, and a thickening of his oesophagus near his stomach, which was later diagnosed as oesophageal cancer that had metastasised to his liver, lymph nodes, adrenal glands, abdomen and brain.
“He’s 39, like this is rare, the doctors are stumped by this. They’re not sure how this has happened to him, this combination and his age,” Ms Daynes said.
“He has been told it’s terminal, it’s completely inoperable besides Gamma Knife for the brain tumour.”
Gamma Knife is a new technology at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre that uses radiation to treat neurological conditions without invasive surgery.
A fundraiser to support 39-year-old Broadford resident Darren Daynes’s cancer treatment has reached more than $15,000.
Mr Daynes is currently receiving chemotherapy, among other treatments, and has transformed his lifestyle and diet, cutting out sugar, caffeine, meat and dairy.
“We’re just trying everything,” Ms Daynes said.
“There’s so many different therapies that you can look into … but all of that costs money.
“It’s like drinking out of a fire hose, all the information that there is out there.”
The money raised from the GoFundMe page’s $50,000 goal will go towards alternative treatments overseas if what’s available to Mr Daynes in Australia isn’t effective, but in the middle of a pandemic, travelling abroad is a last resort.
“We’ve got little kids that we’d have to leave here, so that’s the most worrying thing, not being able to get back here,” she said.
“If need be we’ll head straight over there once we get the funds together, because it’s given us a lot of hope so far to know that we’ve got that much money saved up, it’s quite promising to think that maybe we could try these other therapies overseas.”
Ms Daynes said the community support had been overwhelming.
Beyond financial donations, they’ve had countless offers of other support, including for the use of facilities across the Mitchell Shire for fundraisers or events, and weekly meal deliveries from Kilmore’s Oddfellows Cafe.
“We’ve just been overwhelmed with how much support we’ve had; it’s been fantastic. It’s been so nice to see just how many people are really concerned and want to help,” Ms Daynes said.
“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got because he’s loved by so many people. We’re not going to give up on him that easily – no way.”
Donations to Mr Daynes’s cause can be made via GoFundMe at gofund.me/0848d5c8.