29-year-old Alisha was trying to get pregnant with her first baby with her partner of four years, and the Australian couple’s seventh child altogether, when she discovered a lump on her nipple. She was originally diagnosed with an abscess and underwent several rounds of antibiotics in an attempt to cure it. But when she fell pregnant with the long-awaited child that would unite the two families biologically, she asked to be taken off the antibiotics.
Alisha, who has two boys and a girl from another relationship, and her partner Metin, who has three girls, noticed that the lump continued to grow, so Alisha went in for a biopsy. On December 21st, just four days before Christmas, the mother of six—who as 32 weeks pregnant with her seventh—learned she had aggressive stage III breast cancer. On top of all the other health complications she’d been going through with the pregnancy, she now had to deal with cancer treatment.
Alisha also had to tell her kids about her cancer, which proved to be difficult, especially since her three children had recently lost their grandmother to cancer. They asked if Alisha was going to die, to which she had to reply truthfully that she didn’t know. She told the kids to expect her to lose her hair and get really sick but that hopefully the treatment would ultimately make her better.
At 33 weeks of pregnancy, Alisha had a double mastectomy, with all the possible safety measures in place to ensure baby stayed healthy during the procedure. Then she had two weeks to heal before she went under the knife again to give birth to her new son, Isaac. He had to come a little bit early, on February 8, 2019, so that Alisha could have time to heal and then start chemotherapy within the next few weeks.
Shortly after Isaac’s birth, however, Alisha and her family were hit with more bad news. Her cancer was now at stage IV and had metastasized to her liver, making it incurable. According to her GoFundMe page, 90 percent of such cancers end in death, leaving Alisha more or less at “the end of the line.”
Alisha may have as little as a year left to live or as long as six years or so, but she knows her life will be cut short too early to do all the things she dreamed of doing with her family, like traveling and simply watching them grow up.
“I definitely won’t be here to see Isaac blowing out his candles on his 18th birthday. My family are what I live and breathe for, that’s all that really hurts me,” says Alisha.
In an effort to make the most of the time she has left with Metin and the children, she has now created a bucket list and is working on checking all the boxes. She hopes to complete some of her and the family’s favorite activities as well as try some new things they’ve always wanted to do.
Here’s Alisha’s bucket list:
- Take the family on their first overseas trip (Fiji or Bali)
- Have the opportunity to marry Metin in front of our kids
- Swim with the big turtles
- Compete in a figure competition
- Learn to speak another language
- Slow dance in the sunset after having a romantic dinner
- Prepare and educate our children on all things in life, protect them, help them through all their problems from friends, to first heartbreaks to getting them ready for formals and high school graduations
- Take the kids horse riding
- Drive the great ocean road and visit the hot springs with Metin
- Take the kids to the Royal Easter Show for the first time
A friend of the family has created a GoFundMe page to help the family during this time of financial stress. With seven children to feed, medical bills stacking up, and a desire to travel and try new things before it’s too late, money is tight—perhaps too tight to allow for the completion of the bucket list.
“The kids don’t know. How do you tell them that you might not be alive for Christmas?” one part of the GoFundMe page reads. “How do you tell your babies that you can’t watch them grow up? How do you hold onto your newborn baby knowing that you may not be here on his first birthday?”
For now, Alisha and Metin are doing their best to shower the kids with all their love and make the moments count so there will be a plethora of memories of Alisha stockpiled for the kids after her death. May you live many more long and healthy years, Alisha!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?