Sony Foundation first met Zoie in 2017 when Jessica Mauboy paid a special visit to patients at Prince of Wales Hospital. Since then, Zoie has been an integral member of the You Can Community – attending events, taking part in the Sydney Sixers Campaign and advising on the Sydney You Can Centre fit out. Here she shares how the experience was just that bit more bearable knowing she had the support of You Can crew and everyone at Sony Foundation.
A personal message from You Can Champion, Zoie
It’s tough to look back on the past three years of my life and to think it will be 3 years that I will probably remember forever. When I first got diagnosed, I knew that I was no longer living but instead I was surviving, constantly dodging that bright light and trying to savour every special moment.
My journey has spanned both a Children’s Hospital and an adult’s and, in both hospitals, I felt lost and quite alone as I was either the eldest of all the patients or the youngest. There’s this enormous grey area and being a young adult, I was definitely stuck within that void and I wasn’t the only one, there were and are still many of us all lost within a sea of hospitals and patients. Without the Sony Foundations Youth Cancer service and community, I would never have had the support I needed to help fight these battles.
I was first introduced to the Sony Foundation within the children’s hospital and I was blown away as to how many young adults affected by cancer were feeling the same loneliness as I was. Sony Foundation has banded together the lost and created an army and we all support each other.
Being one of the many ‘You Can Champs’, youth cancer champions, I have had opportunities to express my story to those who don’t understand what it’s like having cancer at such a pivotal time in your life, when your crossing over from child to adult, missing out on “tick the box” moments such as HSC, formals, schoolies, holidays and independence.
This is where You Can and Sony have stepped in to fill this void and give us something else in our lives other than hospital visits, chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, which is the cancer life. We support Sony Foundation so they can support us. We deserve a chance at life.
I am currently 6 months post CAR-T infusion, which is a new and upcoming treatment that uses your own cells that have been manipulated within the lab to specifically fight off the mutated cells. I was the 5th Leukemia patient within Australia to receive this treatment and as it was so new it was only available in Melbourne at the Pete Mac Cancer hospital. Having to move away from not only my home but from my state was difficult, I had never been to Melbourne, so I was very unfamiliar with my surroundings.
The You Can community were with me every step of the way and ensured that my stay within Melbourne was as comfortable as possible. I was able to utilise their You Can centre which enabled myself and my family to go to a space within the hospital that didn’t have that sterile smell or the constant beeping of pumps, a place where we could find comfort.
I will forever be grateful for You Can and the Sony Foundation as without their help I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today. Their gracious acts have given hope to us lost patients and given us a place to connect.