real life

Cancer gene sisters: two had preventative surgery, one waited ...

Cancer has been unspeakably cruel to the Neave family. Father Colin died of liver cancer just a week ago, mother Claudette is being treated for terminal bone cancer and daughter Elisha is battling ovarian cancer.

Claudette battled breast cancer 15 years ago. Her mother and grandmother both died from the disease.

The family's history of breast cancer led Elisha and her sisters Chrissy and Veronica to be tested for the BRCA2 gene disorder in 2007. All three tested positive for it. The two elder women made the heartbreaking decision to have hysterectomies and their breasts removed. Elisha chose to wait because she wanted to have more children.

Five years later, at age 33, Elisha discovered she had an agressive form of ovarian cancer. She is now battling to prolong her life so she can have more time with her son, Jack, who is 10.

Chrissy told the Herald Sun: "My baby sister has stage-4 fatal ovarian cancer – she never had the chance to act, she waited too long. I am so happy that Angelina Jolie has come out to make people aware.

"If you're armed with knowledge, you can do something. We thought Elisha had more time – she was young and historically in our family the cancer didn't hit until the late 40s, but we were wrong."

Elisha has exhausted her chemotherapy and surgical options and is currently undertaking a new drug trial. It is working for now, but she may have to travel to a German clinic that offers treatments not available in Australia.

"Elisha is the light of our family," says sister Veronica. "We will not stop in our pursuit to ensure Jack has his mum and we keep our beautiful daughter, sister and mother in our lives."

The Neave family will take part in a fun run to raise funds for Elisha's treatment on June 16. You can help by visiting or going to her Facebook page.