Andrea ran out of time
20 May 2019
“One night, Andrea held my hand and said, ‘Love, it’s time for me to go’.
I said to her, ‘I can’t take you.’ I knew I wasn’t bringing her home.” — Scott, whose wife Andrea passed away from melanoma.
When Andrea and Scott Bond were told that Andrea had aggressive melanoma and just three months to live, they went straight home and gathered their four children around them. Their youngest, Archie, was only five years old. Scott said they were honest with the children; they explained that Mummy was going to die.
“Andrea promised the kids that she’d never give up. Not because she was afraid of going, but because she didn’t want to leave her family behind,” Scott said.
Sadly, new treatments that have tripled life expectancy for some advanced melanoma patients don’t work as well for some forms of melanoma – like Andrea’s.
Andrea desperately wanted more time to spend with her young children Archie, Preston, Oscar and Mackenzie. She particularly wanted to see Archie, her youngest, start school.
“We tried everything, anything new to come out; the immunotherapy, the new chemo, anything. But just about every side effect we were told that she would get, she got,” Scott said. “She was taking 58 tablets a day at one stage. She stood up one morning and collapsed – she’d snapped her hip and snapped her left femur in half.”
Over the next year, at times when we thought Andrea wasn’t going to make it, she would rally and ask to go home to be with her family.
Scott knew time was running out. So he did something he’d been wanting to do for years – propose to Andrea again and renew their wedding vows. The memory of it still brings a smile to his face.
“I did such a botched job the first time around, I proposed to her before we left for the football one night. She never let me live it down! So before she passed away I got 180 of our friends and family together and put on a big wedding vow renewal ceremony,” Scott recalls.
Thanks to new treatments giving her precious extra time, Andrea realised her dream of taking little Archie to school for his first day of Kindergarten. She also proudly watched on as her eldest son Oscar was inducted as School Captain in Year Six.
Only a few months later, Andrea was very weak and unwell.
“One night, Andrea held my hand and looked at me and said, ‘Love, it's time for me to go’. We both sat there crying. We packed her up, and we sat in the garage for about 25 minutes, I couldn't drive. I said to her, ‘I can't take you.’ I knew I wasn't bringing her home.”
Heartbroken, Scott drove Andrea to palliative care. Over the next four days, he and the kids stayed with her. After cuddles with her beautiful children and holding the hand of the husband who loved her so dearly, she passed away on August 27 2018. She was 43 years old.
“Before Andrea died, I remember Professor Georgina Long held Andrea's hand and she had tears in her eyes. She said to Andrea that her mission in life was to find a cure for cancer,” Scott recounts.
Scott and their children planted a garden in Andrea’s memory and filled it with lilies, her favourite flowers. When the kids are sad they call her mobile to hear her voice.
Advances in treatment gave Andrea an extra two years with her children. We gave Andrea extra time – but not enough time. Every mum deserves to see her children grow up.
We won’t stop until we achieve our mission of zero deaths from melanoma.