By Luke Voogt
After waking from lifesaving surgery to remove half his tongue, Lara carpenter Dayle Gordon was shocked to discover loved ones had raised several thousand dollars for him.
“It was up to $5000 or $6000 before I even knew what was happening,” he said on Wednesday, as he prepared for weeks of radiation therapy.
Unknown to Dayle, brother-in-law Damian Mills set up a fundraising page at the suggestion of his son Jet (Dayle’s nephew).
Jet donated $100 from his birthday money to kick off the fundraiser, which had reached $11,500 this week.
“I couldn’t believe the response and the fact that he did it in the first place,” Dayle said.
The funds will be vital for Dayle, who faces seven weeks of radiation, five days a week, and chemotherapy, followed by months of rehabilitation.
He will be unable to work for at least six months and as a subcontractor, has no leave or benefits to cover expenses during his treatment and recovery.
Initially, last September, doctors believed a growth on Dayle’s tongue was an ulcer.
But when the pain became unbearable, he was referred to a specialist who diagnosed him with cancer.
“‘I’m too young,’ I thought, ‘there’s no way it will be cancer’,” he said.
“I didn’t believe it until I got the biopsy results back – that’s when it really hit home.”
He underwent surgery in Geelong on February 5 to remove more than half his tongue and 50 lymph nodes in his neck.
Surgeons also reconstructed his tongue with flesh from his arm during the 11-hour procedure.
After regaining most of his speech and throat function following surgery, Dayle admitted he was scared of going back to “square one” during radiation.
But his partner Taylah Arnott had been “very strong” supporting him, after already losing her grandfather to a similar cancer recently, he said.
Taylah was thrilled to have Dayle home, she told the Independent.
“I had to take some time off to be at the hospital and go to appointments – which I would do in a heartbeat,” she said.
“But you’ve still got to make sure the bills are getting paid. You want to be there 24/7 but unfortunately you can’t.”
“He’s a pretty tough cookie. But he’s also so kind-hearted – I think that’s why the gofundme’s been amazing.
“He never asks for help and he’s always there to help other people.”
To support Dayle visit: www.gofundme.com/f/let039s-chip-in-for-a-chippy