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Kristie Ainsworth is lucky to be alive, but feels guilty every day



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She and the other neighborhood children played on the street, day after day, collecting shells from a seemingly permanent puddle that called the basin at one end and the land beyond the back fence, a community park of 22 hectares.

They explored an area of ​​the park they called "the mudflats", pushing aside the bushes that grew in the Moona trees and building cubbies.

He went to the elementary school of Barwon Heads, and then to Bellarine Secondary College.

Ms. Ainsworth, 37, was among the first students of the Drysdale University campus when she opened in 1

996.

She remembers her mother complaining when she started on campus that she uniformed so much washing .

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"We would have just got home and we would have been dirty." Mom was kind, we [used] to have a few days out of your dress, but now I have to get you more dressed because we can not keep them clean. "[19659003] And it was one of the first of a group of young adults in his cohort to get cancer.

Nine of his peers – many of whom grew up in the same street – have had cancer and have since died, and at least many still have been diagnosed with cancer

Ainsworth was diagnosed, at 17, with Hodgkins's lymphoma after months of complaints with doctors about the swelling in the neck.

Loading [19659002] Determined not to lose school and repeat the year 12, she took two exams during chemotherapy, which was a grueling and traumatic process.

During his first treatment course at the Royal Children's Hospital in September 1999, the chemotherapy fluid spilled into the lining of the lungs after a catheter inserted into his chest at Geelong Hospital a month before he lost a vein.

In 2004, at the age of 22, he sued the two hospitals, subsequently reaching a confidential out-of-court agreement. [19659006] For Mrs. Ainsworth, the PA The recovery was long, and emotional as well as physical.

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"Swimming was what saved me, I just got into the water, I swam, I swam and I swam … And cry, that was mine better therapy in the water because there are many tears that come from pain. "

He has ongoing health problems, particularly fibromyalgia – widespread pain and tenderness – and arthritis, even in the spine.

But she has no time for pity and has built a good life for herself.

She has a male and a female, conceived with IVF after fertility problems after treatment for cancer.

And she raises the Labradors, just outside Barwon Heads, near Lake Connewarre, after her first puppy, Sophie – who had been subjected to cancer treatment – helped her keep fighting when she heard that he could not continue.

  Kristie Ainsworth raises Labrador retriever, says her first dog, Sophie, helped her continue fighting teenage cancer when she felt she could not continue.

Kristie Ainsworth raises Labrador retriever, says her first dog, Sophie, helped her continue fighting cancer as a teenager when she could not move forward. Credit: Simon Schluter

Now he feels he has found a further purpose.

She is wary of causing further pain to people who have lost loved ones, but wants to help them, including her friends, to get answers to their questions about what their cancers may have caused.

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"Probably this is why I did not make this stuff [before] because I feel like a survivor and I should be grateful to have had my life", said Mrs. Ainsworth.

"But at the same time, I have a lot of the guilt of the survivors you live with daily.

" And when this came [out] I thought, you know what, I thought maybe the reason why I'm here, it's about being the voice of these people and friends who are not here yet. "

He spoke with many of those families, some of whom are family friends all their lives, about what they want to do next.

" I know what we're trying to do? I can be the voice … But we only want answers. And we need answers for the other generations that are coming …

"I want to make sure my children are safe, IVF was tough, I was told it would not happen, they are miracles and I want to keep them safe.

"You would not want your worst enemy to go through this. As for me, it will change my life forever. "

Debbie Cuthbertson is a senior writer and the head of Saturday's The Age staff.

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