Jeni still recovering after losing twin to cancer

When Jeni Martin’s twin brother died five months ago, she lost part of herself.

‘‘We were together from our first breath until his last and he will always be on my mind and in my heart,’’ the Figtree mum said yesterday.

The memory of ‘‘Double Uncle Mike’’ will be kept alive through his double dose of nephews, Arlie and Harvey, who were five months old when he died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

‘‘Michael was diagnosed when I was six months pregnant, it was very very shocking, I’ve always worried about something bad happening to him,’’ Mrs Martin said yesterday.

‘‘I’d like to say it’s the twin thing, but I’m just a person that treasures my family so much, I never take my family for granted.

‘‘It sounds slightly morbid ... but he was a guy I did kind of worry about, like there would be an accident or something.  I worried more about him more than others in my family,’’ she said.

Michael Abraham was diagnosed at 33 and died in April this year, aged 34.

‘‘His prognosis was good, he was facing intensive, immediate chemotherapy and the chemo did work, but unfortunately in November last year the lymphoma transformed into a more aggressive type,’’ Mrs Martin said.

‘‘He faced another intensive period of chemo but unfortunately treatment really just didn’t work. Then it spread.’’

Mrs Martin said lymphoma had a ‘‘very undervalued profile’’ in the community.

‘‘It’s the fifth most common cancer in Australia yet many people still don’t know about it,’’ she said.

Mrs Martin explained her brother’s symptoms as similar to how you would feel after a big weekend - only still as bad come Wednesday.

‘‘One of the obvious signs is that if you have a large lymph node in your neck or groin, and you don’t have the cold or a flu, then there is something wrong.’’

For Mrs Martin the loss of her twin is still raw, but she is focusing on raising funds and awareness about the cancer that took his life.

The event in his honour – Laugh It Up for Lymphoma – aims to raise $20,000 for Lymphoma Australia, with a few laughs along the way. Wollongong Lighthouse will be lit in lime green on September 15, the night of the event at Illawarra Master Builders Club, to coincide with World Lymphoma Awareness Day.

For tickets and information contact Mrs Martin on jeniwren78@yahoo.co.nz.

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