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Fundraiser for Kilmore father after cancer diagnosis

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

A fundraiser has been set up for a Kilmore father who was given up to a year to live following a cancer diagnosis.

Stuart Armstrong first fell ill in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, when he began losing weight and struggled to keep food down.

He went through six months of various unsuccessful treatments before cancer cells were identified in a gastroscopy, which was later diagnosed as stomach cancer.

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After treatment with chemotherapy, Mr Armstrong underwent a procedure to remove his stomach and replace it with an artificial substitute – leading to signs of improvement after a lengthy recovery during the pandemic.

In recent months, however, he began to decline again and after multiple hospital visits it was found that the cancer had returned, only this time having completely enveloped the new stomach and effectively shut it down.

Now forced to live with a feeding tube, Mr Armstrong’s wife Lynn has continued to work full-time to support him and their two young children Grace and Hunter.

Family friend Jo Ostwald, who set up the fundraiser, said the situation was ‘pretty brutal’.

“They’re just ordinary, hard-working people and no one expects this kind of thing to happen, but in the midst of it you’ve got two kids, school fees, mortgage … you just want to help in some way,” she said.

“The most practical way to help is to relieve some financial stress just to give Stuart a bit of peace of mind.”

With a general goal of $50,000, Ms Ostwald hoped the fundraiser would help alleviate some pressure over the coming months.

“I’m hoping they get enough money that Lynn might be able to take time off work, they’ve just got to keep going and they’ve got a supportive family and everything, but it’s just how it is,” she said.

Now undergoing chemo and immunotherapy, Ms Armstrong, nee Watt, said she hoped her husband would at least show small signs of improvement, such as being able to drink again, soon.

She was, however, thankful for the support from her children’s two schools – Assumption College and Upper Plenty Primary School.

“This has obviously been tougher, coming back when you first get the news and having to tell your children. It’s not easy,” she said.

“Just even dealing with the little things, lots of decisions might have to be made that you think you’d never have to do.”

Ms Armstrong said she was grateful for Ms Ostwald’s efforts in organising the fundraiser, as it would allow her to take time off work to care for Mr Armstrong.

“It’s amazing, she’s just been amazing through it all and my whole friend group have, they’ve all gathered and made sure that someone checks in every week,” she said.

“I know I’m not alone with this, I know people go through it with their kids and everyone. The support from everyone is what helps and people have been amazing.

“You really see the best people in the world when something happens, … not everyone can offer financial support, but a lot of people offer emotional support or they’re willing to cook you a meal. It’s a beautiful thing.”

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