A family split by cancer are heartbroken and angry after thieves broke in to and ransacked their uninsured home last month.
David Woodfine was in the Royal Melbourne Hospital fighting an aggressive and rare form of leukemia with partner Sally Belcher by his side when four of their children and Ms Belcher’s mother returned to their Creswick home on July 29 to find it in disarray.
Gone was a Stihl chainsaw, a compound bow, the children’s school tablets and laptops, a Nikon camera, a spare change tin and car keys as well as snacks bought for the childrens’ school lunches and yoghurt from the fridge.
Less than a month before their family life was thrown in to chaos when Mr Woodfine was diagnosed with the aggressive and rare acute t-cell lymphoma/leukemia and was told he would require a stem cell transplant.
It’s the second cancer diagnosis for Mr Woodfine, who in 2014 was successfully treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
“We’ve been through it once before, but it’s worse this time and in the end he will need a stem cell transplant because it’s a bit more aggressive,” Ms Belcher said.
“We came straight to Melbourne after David was diagnosed in Ballarat five weeks ago and he hasn’t been home since.”
Ms Belcher had been back in Creswick on July 28 going to the netball and football matches of her four children aged 10 to 16, did a weekly grocery shop then dropped them off to her mother’s house nearby before she came back to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The children spent the night at their gran’s house before she took them back to their home on the Sunday night where she was going to care for them for the week. On their return they found the house open and ransacked.
“The kids’ reaction and my reaction was just devastation,” Ms Belcher said. “The kids were very shaken up and it took them a while before they could settle for the night – they were on the phone to me for a long time.”
Her 16-year-old daughter reported the robbery immediately to Creswick police.
“It’s so hard being away from them anyway, and this situation makes it even worse.”
The children currently spend alternate weeks with the gran at their home in Creswick, and in Melbourne around the hospital with their mum. Mr Woodfine also has three children who live with their mother in Ararat and have made several trips to Melbourne to visit their dad in hospital.
To make the burglary even worse, Ms Belcher said the belongings were not insured.
“That stuff costs money to replace and we are not working at the moment so if anyone has any information or has a conscience and wants to return it, it’s not like it’s just a couple of dollars worth of stuff and it wasn’t insured.
“Life is tough enough as it is … and robbing someone’s house is a pretty low-life thing to do to anyone but on top of everything else going on it’s exactly what we didn’t need to have to deal with.”
Since her partner’s diagnosis Ms Belcher has not been able to work either of her two personal care assistant jobs and has used up all of her leave.
“This fight is not going to be smooth sailing, as the doctors explained to us there will be hiccups along the way but it’s just something they have to deal with.”