Lifestyle

Mum's final wish for her boys

Jo and Dean Goldstein with their children Archie, 18mths, Luke, 4, and Torrin, 7. Jo has been given only eight weeks to live after fighting a rare form of cancer for over a year and is holding a 'wax-off' fundraiser to raise money for the family.
Jo and Dean Goldstein with their children Archie, 18mths, Luke, 4, and Torrin, 7. Jo has been given only eight weeks to live after fighting a rare form of cancer for over a year and is holding a 'wax-off' fundraiser to raise money for the family. Sarah Harvey
Jo Goldstein has been given only eight weeks to live after fighting a rare form of cancer for over a year and is holding a 'wax-off' fundraiser to raise money for the family. Photo: Sarah Harvey / The Queensland Times
Jo Goldstein has been given only eight weeks to live after fighting a rare form of cancer for over a year and is holding a 'wax-off' fundraiser to raise money for the family. Photo: Sarah Harvey / The Queensland Times Sarah Harvey

A YOUNG Ipswich mum is facing up to the terrible task of saying goodbye to her three young sons and husband after she was given just weeks to live.

Jo Goldstein, 32, was first diagnosed with small cell carcinoma, an aggressive cancer common among the elderly and acute smokers, in September 2011 - just weeks after giving birth to her son Archie, 18 months.

But last month her family's world was turned upside down when Jo was told she would have only eight more weeks left to live.

"I feel so normal but eventually my body will just start shutting down," she told The QT.

"Everyone's trying to get out of me what I want to do, but at 30 you don't have a bucket list."

Husband Dean, who works for the RAAF at Amberley, said by the time Jo was diagnosed the cancer had already spread to other organs and metastasised.

"After Archie was born, the swelling in her stomach hadn't reduced and a scan found a tumour on her colon. Her liver was three times its normal size, which doctors confused with the baby's head while she was pregnant," Dean said.

"It's very rare not to originate in the lungs and in someone as young as Jo's age.

"When they found the cancer it was at stage four - the most and advanced stage and generally the survival diagnosis is only six months.

"She has had 15 months of treatment but now the chemo is not working anymore and they have basically given her eight to 12 weeks.

"Her liver will start to shut down and eventually she will slip into to a coma and die."

It has been a life-shattering discovery for the Goldsteins who are praying for a miracle.

"We're focusing on the kids - we've got to keep it as normal as possible," Jo said.

"They know I'm going into the hospital to have medicine because my belly is sore. They medicine is making my hair fall out but that's it.

"But there's going to come a time when I'm going to have to tell them, which will be extremely difficult.

"My mind is always occupied with things I need to tell Dean, things I do at certain times of the day, how to make the boys' favourite choc chip cookies.

"I'm not going to give up when they say no more chemo because there is other things you can do."

Before she leaves her boys, Jo is determined to secure one more thing for them. The family had been saving for a swimming pool, but that cash has now been spent on medical costs.

Now friends and family are raising money to help Jo's final wish come true. Neighbour Leah Bricknell has launched a Facebook page - This hair goes for Jo - to raise money for the family.

"Jo and Dean have used their savings and insurance money to deck the house out and renovate to set it up for Dean and the boys if Jo does go," Mrs Bricknell said.

"One of Jo's wishes is she would like to have a small pool and have a glass fence so that she can sit and watch the kids if she does get frail.

"We are also reaching out to travel agents because Torrin would like to go on a plane trip with his mum."

Several businesses have put up their hands already to help the Goldsteins.

"We're trying to get it done as fast as we can," Mrs Bricknell said.

A group of Jo's friends will be shaving their heads on Friday, February 15, at 11am at Urban Day Spa on Brisbane Rd to raise money for the family. Dean's friends will fundraise by getting waxed at Ella Bache at Riverlink on Saturday, February 16, from 10am.

For more information on how to get involved or make a donation visit This hair goes for Jo on Facebook.

Topics:  cancer, ipswich, mum




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