Anita and Joel North are looking to crowdfund funds for an operation for Joel after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Anita and Joel North are looking to crowdfund funds for an operation for Joel after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Marc Stapelberg

Brain tumour operation now possible thanks to community

UPDATE, Monday, 10.30am: THE wife of a man diagnosed with a golfball-size tumour in his brain said they have been overwhelmed by the "wonderful and caring Lismore community".

People have rallied to raise more than $101,000 via a GoFundMe campaign in just three days to pay for Joel North's operation.

On Monday morning his wife, Anita North, said she was about to book the potentially life-saving operation with renowned Sydney brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.

The surgery and subsequent treatment is expected to cost around $130,000.

"This is absolutely wonderful news, I am looking into booking the surgery today," Mrs North said.

"We are absolutely elated, thank you everyone (because) raising the funds means our first step is achieved and we are going to see where it goes from here."

Mrs North said the response from the community, including many strangers has been a silver lining during an otherwise frightening time.

"When you think about the Lismore community, it's just so caring, where else would you rather live?

"We are still graciously accepting donations to cover unforeseen medical expenses."

You can help Joel and Anita here


Original story: WHEN Joel North was diagnosed with a brain tumour larger than a golf ball, his local community swung into action.

Within two days 814 people had pledged $94,343 for the $100,000 needed for Joel and his wife Anita to afford the life-saving operation to remove the tumour.

Mrs North said on March 11 her husband suffered a seizure at work.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with a severe brain tumour in the right parietal region of his brain after an MRI at Lismore Base Hospital.

He was then transferred to the Gold Coast University Hospital where he had a full range of scans and testing before the couple went to Sydney to meet neuro-surgeon Dr Charlie Teo last Tuesday.

"Joel needs surgery as soon as possible, we saw Dr Charlie and he said this tumour is a ticking time-bomb," she said.

"He said surgery was our best chance but we can't book the operation until we pay the $120,000.

"Unfortunately, we need the complete $120,000 before we can book, but Dr Charlie said once we book in, Joel can be in theatre within a week".

Mrs North said a friend suggested they start a GoFundMe campaign and she's grateful Kate Stroud came over the next day helped put a rescue plan into practice.

"She came around and said 'OK I have a plan, let's make a video and get this together,' and it was good to do something tangible, to not feel so helpless," she said.

"This response is so motivating, it's just what need to fuel our sense of hope, with a baby due in October, Joel's priority is to have as long a life as he can."

Because of the tumour's placement, she said the main risks are to the motor skills on her husband's left-hand side, possibly resulting in paralysis and life in a wheelchair.

There is also the risk of death during surgery, but once the tumour is biopsied and identified his treatment will likely involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

"Each donation is incredible," she said.

"It makes me feel like we are going to get there."