Kylie Munro’s family has been visited by more grief in two years than most people experience in a lifetime.
However, the young Ballarat mother has held her loved ones together with resilience and courage in the face of extreme adversity.
The specter of death first touched the Munros two years ago when Mrs Munro and husband Nigel lost their unborn daughter Alena only 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
Three months after the devastating loss of their child, Mrs Munro fell pregnant again, this time giving birth in January last year to a healthy baby girl the couple named Tia.
Mrs Munro said Tia was their rainbow baby.
“Out of every storm comes a rainbow; we had the storm and then saw the rainbow which is Tia, then it all fell apart again,” Mrs Munro said.
Three months after the birth of Tia, Mrs Munro received news that her grandmother had been diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer.
It was the week after mother's day that my Nan was diagnosed; she was my best friend, it was awful.Kylie Munro
Mrs Munro had been raised by her mother and grandmother and said she viewed her beloved Nan as a second mother.
“We did everything with her and she provided everything, she even helped mum put us through school,” she said.
“She was selfless, she was amazing and we were inseparable.”
It was during an emergency surgery the doctors discovered the extent of the cancer and told Mrs Munro her Nan had only had a few months left.
“My world was ending,” Mrs Munro said.
“I was there when she passed away, I had fallen asleep on her arm.”
While her Nan was undergoing treatment, the family was delivered another shocking blow, this time about Nigel Munro.
“He was suffering from bad headaches and migraines that ended up with him vomiting and everything; he kept coming home and going straight to bed,” Mrs Munro said.
While doctors initially thought Mr Munro was suffering from depression, an MRI scan showed the cause to be something more.
“The specialists gave us the scans and we went back to the GP who looked it up on the screen and said ‘oh Nigel, you see this? You have a brain tumor’," Mrs Munro said.
“It was huge, the whole frontal lobe; we looked at each other and I just bawled, for it to be that size we knew it couldn't be benign.”
What followed for Mr Munro and the family was an emergency trip to the Royal Melbourne Hospital followed by 10 hours of surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
“This growth was incurable because of the underlying part of the tumor; if they had cut any more off they would could have made him paraplegic,” Mrs Munro said.
Since his diagnosis, Mr Munro has been receiving radiation and chemotherapy but the remaining tumor has shown growth in spite of the doctors’ best efforts.
Mr Munro is living in palliative care and has lost all his mobility and independence due to the trauma caused by the cancerous tumor.
Mrs Munro said it’s her two daughters, Sienna and Tia, that keep her positive in the face of challenges that have threatened to overwhelm her.
“My girls are the only thing that keep me going,” she said.
“They keep me on my toes and I don't know where I would be without them; they are the reason I get up out of bed...you just have to, I am their mum.”
Mrs Munro’s mother and friends have been providing as much support as they can but have reached out to the community for help.
Mrs Munro’s mother Katrina Fitzpatrick has set up a gofundme account for the family which can be found here.
A close friend of the Munros, Krystal Scicluna, has organised a family fun day fundraiser at Mt Buninyong winery for December 10 with the venue donating half the days takings to help the Munro family.
The day will include face painting, a jumping castle, kids games, raffles, pizza, drinks and more with all of Ballarat invited to attend and help raise much needed funds for the Munro family.
Ms Scicluna said she has known Mrs Munro for about 10 years and said she had been in awe of the strength Mrs Munro has shown over the last few years.
“She is pulling it together ridiculously well and she's doing it for the girls,” Ms Scicluna said.
“They are the absolute world to Kylie and she is doing it all for them, if she didn't have them around she would be a mess.”
“These last few years has shown her how much she can deal with and how strong she can be when she has to be.”
Mrs Munro said she wishes she could thank all the people who have reached out to support her family.
“I would really like to thank my mum for doing the gofundme page; it's been wonderful.”
“Also thanks to everybody, my friends and family that have been supporting me, the people that are there, life is so busy so it’s nice to know people can set time aside fort that.”
“I want to mention that Nigel gave me the best gift a woman could ever ask for and I appreciate everyone rallying for us and particularly showing their support now.”
“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the gofundme campaign. We are forever grateful.”
“I would also like to make special mention of Nigel’s GP and the team at the BRICC centre and Queen Elizabeth centre for the superior care and outstanding support.”