Accommodation Services helped Chris continue her cancer treatment during the 2019 bushfires
In December 2019, Chris Iversen had just returned home after a chemotherapy session when firefighters knocked on her front door.
It was bad news – the bushfires were coming, and they would soon make travelling between her home in Wandandian and the treatment centre at Nowra impossible.
“We’ve been through three fires here, but this was the worst. You could hardly breathe it was that bad,” Chris said.
Chris had been diagnosed with breast cancer six months earlier. She had undergone a mastectomy and was in the middle of receiving chemotherapy.
“I had a terrible time with the second lot of chemo, I was feeling very unwell,” Chris said.
As the fires closed in, Chris and her husband Shayne travelled back to the hospital the next day.
“We didn’t have anywhere to stay, but I still had to get to my treatment,” Chris said.
“Worrying about where we were going to stay while I was going through treatment was shocking and because I wasn’t really well, I think Shayne took the brunt of that.”
We could not have done it without Cancer Council and all their help.
– Shayne Iverson
The first night, they slept in the nurses’ quarters at the hospital.
“Then the cancer clinic put us in touch with Cancer Council. Although we ordinarily would have lived too close to qualify for accommodation, Jarrod, who looks after the Shoalhaven Patient Accommodation, said they could help us out,” Chris said.
“We stayed there for a week the first time, then we came back home again, we collected a few things and did a bit of washing and then we had to evacuate again,” Chris said.
“The accommodation was marvellous. The people that gave their time there for nothing were incredible, everything was there at the unit, it was like a five-star motel. We could not have done without any of them there.”
Shayne agreed: “We could not have done it without Cancer Council and all their help.”
When they returned home from the accommodation, Chris and Shayne were relieved to see that their home was still standing.
“We were lucky – it burnt the bush at the back of our place, but the house was still here,” Shayne said.
Chris has completed her treatment now, and although she’s still feeling the effects of the chemotherapy, she said she’s “a lot better than she was.”