The family of former Naracoorte resident Peter Fogarty is raising money for a disability-assisted bathroom to help in his battle with terminal cancer.
Peter has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiform stage four (terminal) brain tumour, which has led to a loss of mobility and seizures. While Peter is currently on medication to help with the seizures, at one point he was having up to 20 a day.
His fiancee and full-time carer Kathy Rex is doing all she can to help him with day-to-day living, but she also needs a more accessible bathroom, as she has major scoliosis.
Peter’s occupational therapist even suggested a camp shower in the back yard.
Peter and Kathy, who now live in Bundaberg, Queensland, have reached out to various bodies for assistance but so far to no avail.
“If you’re poor and sick, you’re stuffed,” Kathy said. “We got approved (by community groups) but you’re placed on a waiting list, which has an unknown time limit.
“It gives you false hope.”
Because Peter is aged in his fifties, he’s also not eligible for assistance from the aged care sector.
“What if there wasn’t somebody to look after him?” Kathy said. “Who wants to spend their last days in a hospital?”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the special bathroom, explaining the situation and detailing Peter’s long medical history.
He has battled several serious illnesses over the years, first being diagnosed with a brain tumour in his twenties, which resulted in lifelong epilepsy.
At 46 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which required a prostatectomy and radiotherapy.
A year later Peter developed head lesions, which turned out to be osteomyelitis in the cranium. Osteomyelitis is an infection and inflammation of the bone, or the bone marrow.
As well as being put on intravenous antiobiotics, Peter had to have part of his skull removed. After that came plastic surgery, and radio proctitis, inflammation to the lower end of the large intestine caused by the radiotherapy.
Only a couple of years later, Peter was diagnosed with the terminal brain tumour.
“A disability-friendly bathroom would make our lives better. We don't need or want anything fancy, just something that I can use,” Peter writes on his GoFundMe page.
“I just want some dignity.”
Peter’s daughter Cailtin Pabst described her father as “humble”, and a man who would be unwilling to ask for attention and donations unless it was the last resort.
“We’re all thinking of him and supporting him,” Caitlin said.
While Mr Fogarty hasn’t lived in Naracoorte for a long time, he still has family here, and contributed to the social life of the town.
“Dad was a part of the community, here and at Mount Gambier,” Cailtin said. “He was involved in Scouts.”
Many people still have fond memories of Peter, and have been contributing to his donation page.
“It’s good to see people rally around him like this, to know that the community cares,” Caitlin said.
“He’s a positive guy, and we’re battling the best we can,” Kathy added.
For now, the Fogartys are concentrating on giving Peter the best quality of life possible.
“Having a shower should be something to take for granted,” Kathy said. “If you’re sick, if you’re healthy, you should be able to have a shower.
“Hopefully we’ll get another bathroom, and Peter can also meet his grandson in December.
“His granddaughter Mackenzie already brings him so much joy.”
The donation page for Peter’s new bathroom is here: https://www.gofundme.com/helppeterenjoyqualityoflife
If the donations surpass the original goal the family has said the extra money will go towards funeral costs, or a short holiday for Peter.