A Wagga mother is facing the fight of her life after being diagnosed with a form of cancer which affects just one in a million people each year.
Michelle Roworth was admitted to Wagga Rural Referral Hospital two weeks ago with severe abdominal pain, leading doctors to suspect she had appendicitis.
But to her horror, she was later diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, a type of cancer which usually begins in the appendix and spreads cancerous cells to the lining of the abdomen.
“It was just such a shock,” sister-in-law Rebekah Zadow said.
“We spent a good week waiting and waiting for those results.
“When you finally get the bad news, you feel like it just can’t be true.
“To think that someone you love has to go through this is truly awful.”
Mrs Roworth is now set to undergo life-saving surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney on Thursday, with most of the organs in her abdomen to be removed before undergoing chemotherapy.
It is expected she will need at least four weeks in hospital to recover from the gruelling procedure.
Making matters worse for the family has been a series of continually mounting financial pressures.
The medical costs associated with looking after their four-year-old son Connor - who has cerebral palsy and autism - and relocating to Sydney will only add to Mrs Roworth’s impending list of hospital bills.
But she will not face the fight alone, with the community rallying around her through a remarkable online fundraising campaign.
Mrs Roworth’s MyCause page, set up by Mrs Zadow, has raised more than $13,000 in just four days.
It has received 91 donations, some as high as $1000, and has been shared on social media more than 400 times.
Mrs Zadow said the family was stunned by the outpouring of support.
“We’re all so overwhelmed with the response so far,” she said.
“People have been so generous.
“All donations, no matter what size, have been greatly appreciated.
“If people aren’t able to donate for any reason, we’d still love them to share the link.”
The fundraiser hopes to reach $100,000.
Donations can be made here.