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Jaye’s Chinese Adventure

Living in Israel, I am used to seeing and hearing about acts of courage. That doesn’t make this story about the courage of a good friend of mine any less inspiring to me.

Jaye Radisich is searching for a miracle.

The former State Labor MP flew out of Perth last night on a journey to China to seek alternative treatment for a rare form of cancer that will otherwise take her life.

Admitting she was scared, the 35-year-old said she simply could not accept her only alternative was debilitating chemotherapy that would prolong her life but not cure her illness.

Ms Radisich – the youngest woman elected to State Parliament when she won the seat of Swan Hills in 2001 – is showing the determination for which she became known during her two terms in office.

“I have to try something, I can’t just accept getting sick from chemotherapy and being sick forever,” she said.

“I am sad and I am scared and I cry a lot. But I try not to walk around wallowing in self pity. That is not going to make me better.”

Just over a month ago, Ms Radisich was in Peru with partner Brad Maguire after a year dominated by surgery and medical complications after discovering a tumour in her kidney.

Ms Radisich had already had to fight off a Wilms tumour, a paediatric cancer rarely found in adults and unheard of in Australia.

First diagnosed in 2002, Ms Radisich was in her second year in Parliament when she had a kidney removed and underwent radiation treatment and chemotherapy to fight the disease. She thought she had the all-clear after five years of six-monthly check ups ended in 2008.

But on September 30 last year, the all too familiar symptoms of the cancer returned and a new tumour was found in her remaining kidney.

Chemotherapy reduced the size of the tumour before surgery to partially remove the kidney.

Complications meant two more operations and a swath of medical procedures.

A year after her second diagnosis, Ms Radisich believed she was on track and marked the anniversary with an overseas holiday.

On the last night of the trip, Mr Maguire proposed as they dined in a Buenos Aires restaurant.

The engaged couple were relaxed when they returned to Perth, Ms Radisich contemplating a fresh start at work.

But three weeks ago, a scan revealed Ms Radisich’s gravest fear – the cancer had returned. There were more tumours – and they were big and aggressive.

The tumours had spread to the tissue surrounding her kidney, abdomen wall, pelvis and lymph nodes.

Eight days ago, after another nerve-racking bout of tests, Ms Radisich was given her final diagnosis.

“My oncologist has recommended chemotherapy but he said it won’t save my life, it will just prolong my life,” Ms Radisich.

“If I have it, it will make me sick. It won’t cure me and ultimately I will die. And I don’t want to die yet. I am 35 and I’ve got things to do, quite a lot of things to do really. I want to search for a miracle.”

Deciding that chemotherapy is her last resort, Ms Radisich has frantically researched unconventional treatment options in Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the US and China.

“I have mentioned what I am doing to my specialists in Perth,” she said.

“Although none of them really know anything about it, they have all been supportive. I don’t want anyone to think that I am being reckless and flagrantly disregarding what my specialists have told me.”

Ms Radisich will first try treatment in Xian, capital of the Shaanxi province.

She still knows little about the program of sono-photo dynamic therapy but it is run out of a hospital and several Australians are involved in the company that owns the technology. It is non-invasive and uses a combination of light and sound therapy.

Ms Radisich has no idea how long the treatment will take. The ordeal is a financial strain on Ms Radisich, who was not eligible for a political pension.

Speaking to _The Weekend West _ on the eve of her departure, Ms Radisich at times held back tears.

But she laughed as she described the emotional rollercoaster of the past three weeks.

Ms Radisich, who has kept friends up to date with frank and often humorous postings on her Facebook page, plans to write a blog about her treatment in China.

You can follow Jaye’s search for a miracle cure over at her blog.

Jaye, we love you.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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