The Gold Coast community is rallying around a much-loved local family, whose life has been turned upside down after young mum Elise Squillari was admitted to hospital with severe headaches – only to find out she has stage four metastatic melanoma.
Elise, who was 32 weeks pregnant, was rushed to hospital on the Gold Coast just over a week ago after suffering unbearable headaches.
It was there that Neurologists found multiple brain lesions that were causing life-threatening bleeding in her brain and she was immediately admitted for emergency brain surgery.
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“Since then Elise has been diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma,” A gofundme page set up by a close friend reads.
“Elise’s cancer is aggressive and the oncology team have told them that treatment will be life-prolonging, not curative.”
So Elise could start urgent immunotherapy treatment, doctors were forced to deliver the couple’s baby boy early at 33 weeks.
“While bub is doing well, this is just the start of a very challenging time for Elise and Dylan,” the fundraising page said.
“Dylan will be unable to work for some time as he looks after Elise, their beautiful 3 year-old girl, Gigi, and their newborn baby boy, Romeo.”
Elise is being described as an “adored mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend” – a sentiment echoed by thousands of Gold Coasters, who have taken to social media in a bid to raise much-needed funds for the couple.
“Those who know Elise know that she is not one to ask for help, even when she needs it most… Which is why I’m setting up this fundraiser for two of my dearest friends who are loved by so many,” organiser Olivia Smith said.
It’s understood all funds raised will go towards helping Elise and her husband Dylan with their loss of income, their new baby, bills, family support, donor breastmilk, alternative therapies, and living expenses.
“The best way we can all help is to relieve this financial stress so Elise and Dylan can focus on what’s important right now – Elise’s health and their new baby,” Ms Smith said.
In just two days, the fundraiser has been shared and contributed to by thousands, with more than $227,150 of a $200,000 goal already raised.
Local businesses, including The Borrowed Nursery where Elise worked, have also jumped on board to lend a hand.
“This week across our two borrowed nursery locations and @foliarstore we will be donating 20% of all sales to the fund,” the company said.
“This includes store sales and voucher sales online from tomorrow the Monday the 14th to Sunday the 20th… Every little bit counts”.
If you would like to donate to help Elise and her family, you can do so here.