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"Mark, you are my hero and I’m so proud to call you 'son'."

Words cannot adequately describe the journey and pain a father has felt for his son, Mark Sullivan, who is trying to raise funds to battle a highly aggressive brain tumour. With time not on their side, Dennis has penned his thoughts in an emotional plea for support. His words speak for themselves – they come from the heart.

My Dearest Mark,

You are my hero. In fact you are the whole family’s hero. Your courage and optimism has been both inspirational, and thankfully catching.

It was just under a year after losing your older brother, Sean, in tragic circumstances that you were diagnosed with an aggressive and malignant brain tumour. It was beyond understanding. When I look back over these last 12 months I can see there were indicators that something was amiss with your health, but never would I have imagined a brain tumour. Thankfully, your wife Estelle was way ahead of the GPs’ or you wouldn’t be here today. Her own research around your symptoms was pointing to a brain tumour. At her instigation another GP was consulted and agreed that an MRI scan was a priority.

Mark and Estelle on their wedding day. Image supplied.

Because the MRI results showed the presence of a large tumour in the centre of your brain you were then returned to hospital as a matter of urgency. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live – I rushed to the hospital where you were slumped over in a chair in admissions – I thought my heart would break – I have never known such fear, but also such profound love for you. Your surgeon told us that time was of the essence – he said you wouldn’t survive another 12 hours without immediate surgery.

How you withstood the next two days of back-to-back major operations is beyond me. You never complained, not once! If the situation had been reversed I would have been a complete mess. The skill and attention you received from the medical team was extraordinary.

The pathology report read to the family by the surgeon was devastating – A malignant high grade 111 anaplastic astrocytoma. You were just 30 years of age. This was a particularly cruel fate. There is no cure, just a time delay even with intensive radiotherapy. I’ll never forget our first visit to radiotherapy. You never complained or felt sorry for your self. You underwent six weeks of daily radiation.

Mark, you are my hero and I’m so proud to call you ”son”.

The resultant physical damage of right side blindness in both eyes means you can’t work in your chosen profession as a surveyor, or drive a car. You’ve lost your sense of smell and you are always hungry. This is a heavy burden.

Mark after his surgery. Image supplied.

Mum and I are proud of your three sisters who have worked tirelessly to be of help to you in these difficult days.

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Estelle showed great courage by continuing with your engagement and becoming your wife. That is true love by any measure.

We couldn’t just sit back and wait for the inevitable – that wasn’t an option! Weeks of painstaking research led us to the Duderstadt Clinic in Germany. Their work is at the cutting edge and they have truly had remarkable outcomes, including Australian patients with your prognosis.

You need to undergo what is referred to as Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy. This treatment is spread over about 4.5 months. Essentially your blood is harvested, treated, and then returned. Unfortunately you need to stay near the Clinic for the duration of the treatments. All up, with the cost of the treatment, accommodation and airfares there will be no change from $110,000.

child with brain cancer
Mark in recovery. Image: Supplied.

We need help to raise these funds and give you the best shot at long term survival. I congratulate you taking things into your own hands by trying to raise the funds via the work you are doing on the MyCause website.

Mark, you are greatly loved by me and all the family, and we just want the treatment to happen for you so you can have a real chance at life.

Greatest Love and Care,

Dad

To read more about Mark’s story and donate, click here. 

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