A relay hero for his life

In between trips to Sydney for treatment, Ashley still manages to surf, got on his   stand up paddle board, hike and fish whenever possible. Photo Something Visual.
In between trips to Sydney for treatment, Ashley still manages to surf, got on his stand up paddle board, hike and fish whenever possible. Photo Something Visual.

Ashley Duckworth has adopted a simple but positive motto to deal with his cancer diagnosis – cancer will have to put up with me.

When Ashley received news he had cancer 12 months ago it came as a big shock. Until that diagnosis 39-year-old Ashley had no symptoms.

But it was the discovery of small lump – which rapidly grew to the size of a tennis ball – on his neck which aroused alarm.

A biopsy revealed an unusual form of testicular cancer.

Since January 2017 the cancer has spread to his lungs and lymph nodes.

During the past 12 months Ashley has endured nine rounds of chemotherapy, firstly at Port Macquarie Hospital before transferring to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

He is now undergoing high dose chemotherapy with stemcell transplants.

“It’s tough going with the treatments and being away from home,” Ashley said.

“But, I’m getting good results so hopefully I’m on the right path to some good news.”

When Ashley embarked on his radical hydro stemcell chemotherapy treatment in August 2017, he was given a seven per cent chance of overcoming his condition.

Ashley is pleased with his progress, learning earlier this month he is just two operations away from remission.

“Considering where I was in July and August; I am pretty good at the moment.

“But, it has been a long 12 months.”

The one-time plant operator from Forster has been selected as this year’s Relay for Life local hero.

The event will be held on March 24 and 25 at Peter Barclay Fields, Tuncurry.

When he isn’t travelling to Sydney for a gruelling round of treatment, Ashley tries to lead a regular life.

“Sure, I’ve had to adjust to some things that I can and cannot do, but I still go surfing, stand up paddle boarding, hiking and fishing every chance I get.

“I've learnt to switch my mind on to treatment times and try to focus on the treatment and not get too carried away with making plans.

Honoured with his role, Ashley is keen to see as many teams and individuals participate in this all important fundraising event.

“I just love the community coming together to support people dealing with cancer like they do at Relay for Life.

“I’m sure most people know somebody that’s had some sort of cancer, so we all need to do what we can to find a cure for this terrible disease.”

Throughout the past 12 months he has been supported on his journey by carer and breast cancer survivor, his mum, Anne Ditton.

Great Lakes to host cancer relay

Twenty-five teams and more than 230 people have registered to participate in the Great Lakes Relay for Life on March 24 and 25 – and there’s still time to register!

Relay for Life raises much needed funds for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support programs.

It’s been a few years since the popular fundraiser was last held in the Great Lakes. The Manning hosted a relay last year.

This year’s 24-hour event will be held from 10am on Saturday, March 24 through to 10am, Sunday, March 25 at Peter Barclay Field, Tuncurry.

Register your team at www.relayforlife.org.au/greatlakes or contact Katie Mead on katie.mead@nswcc.org.au

Relay For Life began in Australia in 1999.Twenty-five teams and more than 230 people have registered to participate in the Great Lakes Relay for Life on March 24 and 25 – and there’s still time to register!

Relay for Life raises much needed funds for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support programs.

It’s been a few years since the popular fundraiser was last held in the Great Lakes. The Manning hosted a relay last year.

This year’s 24-hour event will be held from 10am on Saturday, March 24 through to 10am, Sunday, March 25 at Peter Barclay Field, Tuncurry.

Register your team at www.relayforlife.org.au/greatlakes or contact Katie Mead on katie.mead@nswcc.org.au

Relay For Life began in Australia in 1999.