Michelle Roworth has spent so much of her life caring for others.
In her career, 34-year-old Michelle – or Chell as she’s known by those who love her most – has specialised as a high dependency and cardiology nurse. At home, she’s the mother of a four-year-old boy, Connor, who has autism. She also makes a “beautiful and lovely” wife to husband Jeffrey.
But because the world rarely makes sense and good people are occasionally struck with the stroke of bad luck, Chell’s body is currently riddled with a cancer that affects one in two million people.
“She’s a beautiful, kind and caring person. She is also bubbly and happy with an infectious giggle. She’s gone into a career that’s all about caring for people.
“Everyone that knows her loves her. And even those who have only met her for a second love her. It’s why I’ve called the campaign ‘Our Chell’, because she means so much to everyone who knows her. She’s just a very good person,” her friend and sister-in-law Bek Zadow tells Mamamia.
Bek, as someone who has known Chell since their school days in Wagga Wagga and as the wife of her brother, is determined to not let her beloved friend and family member suffer in silence. She may have very little control over the mental, emotional and physical toll, but the financial toll? That’s something that she can put her time and energy into.
And so, a MyCause fundraiser in Michelle’s name was born. While the couple battle an onslaught of medical bills, a fraction of their income coming in (Michelle is unable to work, while Jeffrey is working part-time) and existing therapy bills for Connor, Bek wants to make sure money isn’t a cause for concern. Because with all the known side effects that comes with an aggressive and unrelenting cancer, money and expenses are often the forgotten ones.
“On the basis of [her caring nature] we would love for people to give back to Chell if they’re able to,” Bek says. The fundraiser so far has raised more than $30,000 for the family.
The thing about cancer is that it’s not unusual and it doesn’t discriminate. But the thing about this cancer? It is unusual. Pseudomyxoma Peritonei is the name, and it is – quite literally – one in million. Well, one in two million.
Just two months ago, Chell went to the doctors with stomach pain. Suspecting appendicitis, doctors took a knife to her stomach and completed what is otherwise a very routine surgery. The results, however, were far from routine. Within weeks, Chell wasn't sure what her future looked like.