Dillon Barnett is a 27-year-old man who has lived a life filled with adversities.
Born and raised in Penrith, Mr Barnett entered the world with a heart defect, undergoing pen-heart surgery at just 10-weeks-old.
This year he faced another challenge, diagnosed with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer that had spread throughout his abdominal region.
A close friend of Mr Barnett, Georgia Stellios, told the Weekender about the traumatic experience he has had to endure as doctors struggled to treat him.
“Unfortunately they were stumped. They gave him five weeks to five months to live. Instead of living day by day, he was told to live minute by minute,” she said.
He was transferred to St George Hospital where he was placed under the care of Professor David Morris, a surgical oncologist who decided Mr Barnett’s life was worth fighting for.
“He was classified as a case that was so severe, but one day the Professor said, ‘he’s 27, he’s healthy and fit, so if I don’t give it a go, then what am I here for’,” Ms Stellios recalled.
He underwent the incredibly difficult peritoneal surgery with Professor Morris, with the visible cancer cut out, and his organs then blanketed in hot chemo.
While the operation went smoothly, he was put on to life support and remained in the Intensive Care Unit for four days.
Today he is recovering at home as he continues to fight his battle.
“It was just an emotional roller coaster, he was a little bit ambivalent in the sense that he was told one thing from health specialists and then was given a little bit of light from Professor Morris,” Ms Stellios said.
This Sunday, June 18, coinciding with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Mr Barnett is holding a charity day to raise money for cancer awareness.
The day will start of with a fitness boot camp session run by local personal trainers at Jamison Park netball courts followed by a full day of flash tattoos, a BBQ, bake sale and raffle.
The funds raised at the event will go towards Red Roses, a service that helped Mr Barnett financially through unexpected medical bills, and help create a program for patients going through the same treatment.
For more about Mr Barnett’s journey, visit www.gofundme.com/fight-for-dillon.
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.