Offers pour in for swine flu victim

Fiona Summersides and her dad Terry are struggling to cope.
Fiona Summersides and her dad Terry are struggling to cope. John McCutcheon

UPDATE: OFFERS of help have started flooding in for a Sunshine Coast woman who lost both her legs after a swine flu battle - and her father who has been diagnosed with cancer.

After a front page story in the Daily today, generous residents have rung the Daily to offer accommodation, money, ongoing care and assistance and transport.

Terry Summersides has spent the past week desperately trying to find his daughter Fiona somewhere to live.

Fiona had both her legs amputated last week in the wake of an horrific battle against swine flu.

Tomorrow, Mr Summersides will begin a six-week course of intensive radio-chemotherapy.

He has already had all his teeth removed and will undergo a tracheotomy – a tube inserted into his throat and a feeding tube into his stomach.

The treatment means he will be unable to care for Fiona and there is no guarantee he will even survive the chemo, so he is desperate to find her somewhere to live.

The family can no longer afford their rented Wurtulla home and Fiona needs to be close to Caloundra Hospital for rehabilitation.

“I’ve got to get my daughter set up with a house,” a desperate Mr Summersides said. “I could be gone in five weeks or five months so I have to try.

“She still has to get through rehabilitation and try to walk and I’m going to have to move to Brisbane for radiation chemo.”

The Sunshine Coast Daily has set up an appeal for the family.

Donations can now be made at any Bank of Queensland branch on the Sunshine Coast after the Caloundra branch agreed to set up an account.

The account is in name of Fiona Summerside, Bank of Queensland, Caloundra. The BSB is 124-038 and the account number is  21027515 for those wanting to make donations online.

As Fiona relied on her doting father during her traumatic battle with illness, neither of them realised there was a cancer growing inside his head. It began in his jawline and spread behind his ear and up the back of his skull.

He was told it had been growing for up to three years but went unnoticed until a dentist referred him to a specialist for treatment of an ongoing toothache. That was two weeks ago.

On Monday last week – the same day Fiona’s legs were amputated – he had his teeth removed because the chemotherapy would cause them to crumble.

Fiona has been constantly resting since she was released from hospital on Saturday and her father is weak and haggard as the cancer ravages his insides.

He has dropped 20kg in two months and now sounds more like an elderly man than a 51-year-old. “(Since her surgery) I have only been able to speak with her for five minutes at a time, I’m so tired,” he said.

“She doesn’t cry in front of me but you can see the pain in her eyes. I’d like to see her set up in a little townhouse near the hospital facility that she needs for the next 12 months.

“But she won’t have enough to pay the rent and get herself to rehab.

“What do I do?”

Mr Summersides said that even after his chemotherapy, he was “99% sure” that he would die next year.

“If it gives me six more months with my daughter and four or five of those are good, it will be worth it," he said. “I’m begging to try and have something done so she doesn’t have to beg for herself.”

“She doesn’t cry in front of me but you can see the pain in her eyes. I’d like to see her set up in a little townhouse near the hospital that she needs for the next 12 months”.


Fiona faces losing her legs

Claims dad told not to discuss swine flu

Swine flu teen to lose her feet

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