- Diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Marion's story

A reason to fight

“Someone said to me, ‘It’s amazing that you haven’t had a break down yet.’”

It is. In just a couple of years, Marion has dealt with a lifetime of loss, all while coping with blood cancer.

“One day I had a really sore side. I got rushed to hospital because my doctor thought I had gall stones. After the scan, they thought I had a haematoma, so I was told to come back in six months.”

Six months later, she returned and had her lymph nodes taken out of her arm to be tested. When the results came back, she was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, this wasn’t even the most challenging thing she was facing in life at the time.

“While going through all of that, I buried my brother and my father. And then my mum got sick, so I went to go look after her. She passed away before I started chemo.”

Marion was devastated. Having lost both parents and her brother, she needed a reason to fight. She found that reason when she found out that she was going to become a grandmother. This kept her going through her chemo.

“I also volunteered at The Salvation Army. It was good for my wellbeing, even though I would get tired easily. But, my purpose behind it all was my grandson.”

Being kind, helping people, and taking one day at a time is what has helped Marion cope with her lymphoma, as well as her small but very close circle of friends.

“My friend Abe was there when my family died. He treated me like a big sister, and I know if I asked, he’d drop everything to help me. And there’s Sharlene, my cousin. She’s the one I talk to.”

“I’ve also got Peter. We’ve got children together and he knows I’m sick, but we are still there for each other.”

Marion was also supported by Nicki from LBC. “I knew that I could ring her up any time to talk to her. She advised me about quite a few things and put me in touch with a counsellor, which I needed.”

“To be honest, I just take one day at a time, like that Cristy Lane song…”

I’m only human, I’m just a woman.
Help me believe in what I could be, and all that I am.
Show me the stairway I have to climb.
Lord for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time…


Fast Facts: follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Follicular lymphoma makes up about 20% of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas with roughly 180 diagnosed in NZ each year
  • Follicular lymphoma gets its name from the circular arrangement (follicles) of lymphocytes inside the lymph nodes
  • Follicular lymphoma usually grows slowly over months or years.