Gary McLeod (right) with his wife Tracey and sons Connor and Ethan. Picture: Contributed
Gary McLeod (right) with his wife Tracey and sons Connor and Ethan. Picture: Contributed

30 tumours were just the start for this Mackay dad

JUST 12 months ago, Gary McLeod's life was turned upside down. But a powerful mindset flipped the script.

The father of two was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, but that is not where the horror ended.

Tumours spread to his lungs, stomach and lymph nodes, and 30 found their way into the Mackay man's liver.

But as frightening as the cancer's spread was, through it all his mantra never changed - 'Gary, you're going to beat this'.

"As you can imagine, at the start emotions were pretty high," Mr McLeod said.

"It was very upsetting at that time, but … for myself once they said there is a bit of a chance I've just had a positive mindframe from the start.

"I kept telling yourself you're going to beat it and spend more time with the family. It's just another challenge in life, you've been dealt with it unfortunately, … at that point I couldn't wait to get into the treatment and get started."

Every three-month check up the news got better and better. The tumours were eliminated one by one, to the point where now only one remains, embedded in his right shoulder.

What his harrowing year has done is give him what no amount of work or study can - perspective.

"It definitely highlights your family … and making sure you get that work-life balance right," the father to teenagers Connor and Ethan said.

"You can quite easily get dragged down into your work life, especially in a busy environment, but it highlights what's more important in life."

Mr McLeod has been inundated with support - from those at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Mackay Icon Cancer centre to his work colleagues at Woollam Constructions.

The project manager with the company took part in their annual charity golf tournament at Black Springs Golf Club where $25,000 was raised to support cancer research at the PA hospital and Mates in Construction.

The friendly competition was a special day for Mr McLeod for more than just his form on the green. It showcased the support he had and amplified his profound belief his diagnosis was nothing more than an obstacle.

"The support network was just amazing from family, friends and work … they just looked after me and the primary thing was 'get Gary better'," Mr McLeod said.

"It's unreal I've gotten to this point in itself … we're going to beat this."

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