Conquering Kosi: Bryan's story

03 Oct 2023

When Bryan was diagnosed with Medullary Thyroid Cancer in November last year, he felt “totally lost”.

“It all came as a surprise. I was at work one day when my boss noticed a lump in my neck. I’d been shaving every day and hadn’t noticed anything, but as soon as he pointed it out, there it was – the size of a golf ball,” Bryan explained.

“My doctor said that perhaps it had been growing under my neck strap for some time but it only just popped out. After some tests, it was confirmed. I had Medullary Thyroid Cancer.”

Ten days after receiving the news, Bryan underwent surgery – he had a total thyroidectomy and 41 lymph nodes removed, 15 to 16 of which were found to be cancerous.

“It all happened so fast. I felt like a fish out of water. Being told you have a rare cancer is not like being told you have a common cancer. When you’re ‘rare’, the answers and options are few which left me crippled with anxiety. My immediate reaction was fear. I was scared that I wouldn’t get to see my nine-year-old daughter grow up,” Bryan shared.

“But Rare Cancers Australia (RCA) changed that. Through my Specialist Cancer Navigator, Jaime, I was able to find my way through the early stages of my cancer journey.

“He helped me get a support team in place with the best specialists for my condition. He talked me through different options that I would never have been aware of, like genetic testing. He connected me up with other patients with my diagnosis, including RCA’s Co-Founder Kate who is an absolute warrior and so inspiring.

“All of this made me feel like I wasn’t alone anymore, and it continues to. Thanks to RCA, I have a clinical team that I trust completely and patients from across Australia that I can speak to.”

That is why Bryan is taking on Australia’s highest point, Mount Kosciuszko in March.

“Me and my wife are travelling from Victoria to take on the Kosi Challenge in NSW to raise important awareness and funds for RCA. I am so passionate about what they do, having experienced the difference they make to rare cancer patients first-hand,” Bryan said.

“Not only did they help with my clinical needs, but they also made sure the emotional and wellbeing side of my cancer journey was looked after. They provide such a well-rounded approach to care and I’m so passionate about trying to make sure every rare cancer patient has RCA in their corner, because having them in mine has been life-changing.”