Mum’s friends rally to make wish come true

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With three children aged under four, Belmont’s Anj Aitken suffered for months through what she assumed were routine pregnancy aches and pains.

But in late August doctors delivered a devastating diagnosis: neuroendocrine cancer. And it was aggressive.

She had four or five months to live.

The cancer has since forced Anj to close her new podiatry business after years of hard work and study.

Her greatest concern now is for the financial security of her family: partner Ian Nielson and Ember, 3, Jordan, 2, and Leilah, four months.

To help make her wish, friends have arranged a fund-raising concert at The Barwon Club next month.

Emily McDiarmid and Kerrie Boothey, the driving forces behind the event, said the day would celebrate Anj’s life.

“Her prognosis has touched the hearts of many strangers who don’t know Anj personally and we’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of community support,” Kerrie said.

Anj’s plight had made Emily aware that everyone was “touched by cancer in some way“.

“In the past month I’ve come to realise just how prevalent it is,” she said.

“We wanted to do everything we could to help. We couldn’t sit back and count the days.”

“As much as my heart is breaking, I feel pride in the restoration of faith in the sense of community we’ve experienced.”

Bernie Clifford, whose Bernzerk Productions is helping stage the fund-raiser, said he met Anj at university days.

“She’s such a beautiful person. A bit of a hippy but heavy metal at the same time – she’s like a combination of Stevie Nicks and Janice Joplin.

“She has a ripper attitude and has really embraced her situation and is driving herself forward.”

Barwon Club owner Greg Dodds said he had known Anj since her days as a drummer in an alternative-music band.

“This is what she wanted, a big party with everybody she cares about in the one place,” Greg said.

“It will be a great chance for her to catch up with some old friends, under horrible circumstances, of course, but music will be bloody good medicine.”

The fund-raiser, from midday on 1 November, will include performers Chris Wilson and Sarah Carroll, silent and live auctions and a raffle of prizes including golf with former Cat Billy Brownless and Gold Pass tickets to Elton John’s A Day on the Green.

The appeal is accepting donations at mycause.com.au/page/110675/anj-aitken or Andrea Louise Aitken fund-raising account 033-679 292177.

Originally published at Geelong Independent.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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