A COOLUM woman whose life has been turned upside down by illness has been blown away by the financial support she's received from strangers on the "gofundme" social media site.
In just three days 72 people have chipped in just over $5000, including one donation of $1000 towards the estimated $15,000 Trish Bebrouth will need to get the alternative medical treatment and support she needs after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
The mother of five, who has two girls aged 10 and 11 still at home, had her life changed dramatically last March.
She now faces the agonising choice of moving to chemotherapy treatment and its damaging side effects or, likely, major surgery to remove a large section of her colon, leaving her with a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. She could also choose to put herself in the hands of alternative treatment that may or may not be successful.
Ms Bebrouth went from climbing Mount Coolum every day before breakfast followed by a gym session after the school drop off, and running her own business, to suddenly passing blood several times a day.
"This caused me to become bedridden as the pain and blood loss were incredibly energy-sapping and required a close relationship with the prone position and my toilet,'' she said.
After spending three months in bed she ended up in an emergency ward.
Her condition is now being controlled by steroids, a treatment that cannot continue indefinitely because of side effects.
Ms Bebrouth said of the response to the gofundme campaign: "It's awesome, it's great. It's a real relief. I'm really surprised. It's overwhelming and made me cry.''
Natalie McIvor, whose daughter goes to the same school as Ms Bebrouth's youngest children, helped her establish the campaign.
"It's tough for a lot of us at times,'' Ms McIvor said.
"But for some people it is really tough."
Ms Bebrouth said: "I have done everything I can in the way of healing holistically with diet, prayer, meditation, energy work and even conventional medication to save my colon and my life.
"Perhaps the onset of this disease was all designed to make me reach deeper inside myself than I ever have before - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
"And maybe a part of the self-healing is about being brave enough to strip myself bare and ask for help.''
You can help by going to: https://www.gofundme.com/trishi
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