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“Under Our Roof really is a home away from home.”

While receiving radiation treatment for his advanced localised prostate cancer, Paul Fennell from Whyalla spent over seven weeks in The Hospital Research Foundation’s (THRF) Under Our Roof homes.

“In May of 2014 when I was 60-years-old I was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Paul explained.

Whilst having a robotic prostatectomy only a few months after his diagnosis, Paul’s tumour had unfortunately spread outside of the prostate area, though a pathology result indicated surgical margins were negative (no cancer cells were seen at the outer edge of the tissue that was removed).

“The tumour had spread before I had surgery so the likelihood there would be a reccurrence was high, which turned out to be the case,” he said.

“For a period of two years my PSA continued rising to the point that radiotherapy was looking more and more likely. It was at this point my wife Bernie and I began looking at options of where to stay in Adelaide during my radiotherapy treatment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).”

Hearing about the Under Our Roof homes from Daniel Hall, one of the first patients to stay in Mercer House (one of the two homes) who also lives in Whyalla, Paul knew the homes would provide the perfect place for him to heal with his wife nearby.

“I have a brother and sister who live in Adelaide who would have accommodated me but it’s a big ask and I didn’t want to disrupt their lives. I wanted a place where my wife and I could stay together and we could have our own space,” Paul said.

“That’s why the Under Our Roof homes were perfect for us.”

According to Paul, the Under Our Roof homes really are a home away from home.
According to Paul, the Under Our Roof homes really are a home away from home.

Staying in both Mercer House and then Bendigo Bank House during his treatment, Paul quickly found the homes a ‘home away from home’, providing him with a sense of normality when his life was anything but normal.

“The homes are ideally situated within 10 minutes drive of the beaches. So most days either before or after treatment we would go for long beach walks.”

“Gardening at the house became a bit of a therapy for me, being out and about and feeling like I was doing the normal things I would do at home. I also spent a lot of time in the outdoor area listening to music and reading, some of the families before me had left behind books which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

The sanctuary the Under Our Roof homes provide people like Paul was only made possible thanks to the incredible riders, support crew and volunteers involved in Mercer SuperCycle and you, our generous donor community. It was because of your support we were recently able to purchase outdoor furniture and gardening tools that Paul enjoyed during his stay.

Now back in his hometown of Whyalla, Paul’s PSA has dropped by over 75 percent as a result of radiotherapy and hopefully it will only continue to fall.

“My prostate cancer is now seen as curative. I can’t thank all the people involved in Mercer SuperCycle and the various donors from the THRF community enough. The time and energy that was put into those homes is amazing and it did myself a world of good.”

would you like to learn more about Under Our Roof?

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