'Hand in hand': Family's shock double cancer diagnosis
THE Alexander family was still coming to terms with their dad's cancer diagnosis when they were rocked by more heartbreaking news: their mum was sick too.
Paul and Aurora Alexander, parents to five and grandparents to three, received the diagnoses just a few weeks apart.
Paul, 50, is battling stage four terminal prostate cancer, while Aurora, 47, has bowel cancer.
Now the Gladstone family is facing the emotional and costly exercise of putting both parents through treatment.
"We don't really want chemo simultaneously because we've still got a 10-year-old to get to school, plus our older kids have their own kids," Aurora said.
"It's not fair for the kids to have two parents laid up in bed."
Paul said he wanted his wife to have her chemotherapy treatment first.
"The thought of me being sick is really hard for him," Aurora said.
"I'm the carer, I'm not supposed to be sick.
"We'd only just gotten back from him being in hospital in Brisbane, then I had to go back the next week.
"Telling our kids that Paul was sick, then having to tell them all again, and Paul too, that I had cancer, was the worst thing in the world."
Aurora today met with doctors and expects she has about six to eight months of preventative chemotherapy ahead of her, having already undergone surgery to remove a tumour.
Paul's cancer is more advanced and his treatment is expected to be ongoing.
The Alexander family started a fundraising campaign after their dad's diagnosis, with the hope to send him overseas for treatment.
However, they don't think they'll be able to afford it now their mum needs treatment too.
Paul and Aurora's daughter Brydie said the fundraiser would now help fund their local treatments and support them while they were unable to work.
"They have been by each other's side through it all," Brydie said.
"My mum was helping care for my dad before she got sick, so now I guess they are doing it hand in hand.
"It's so great to see them so supportive of one another.
"We unfortunately have come to terms that we cannot send them both overseas, so we are going to find the best possible treatment method we can here in Australia."
Despite the difficult circumstances, the close-knit family remains positive about the future.
"We don't want anyone to think we're special, this could have happened to any family," Aurora said.
"But we're so very, very grateful for everyone's donations and kind thoughts so far.
"There really is good left in the world."
To help the Alexander family meet their fundraising goal, visit the Go Fund Me page.