Local Teacher Twice-Survives Leukaemia
Having twice battled leukaemia, Caboolture State School Grade 5 Teacher, Jenna Sulter, has survived all odds, becoming both a tireless community fundraiser and lover of life.
Diagnosed in 2009 at the age of 24 with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) with 85% of her bone marrow riddled with cancer, Jenna underwent three rounds of intensive chemotherapy, resulting in remission later that year.
But when the cancer returned two years later – eight months after giving birth to her son, Jasper – Jenna had to endure a further two rounds of chemotherapy plus an Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant, with her sister, Bianca, the donor of the champion stem cells that aided Jenna’s recovery.
Now 32 years old and six years cancer free, Jenna believes that her double ordeal has created a strength of character that helps to advocate for cancer awareness and support. “I can’t deny that the two episodes of leukaemia have affected me both physically and emotionally, and it is something that I am reminded of every day in some way or another. But I am stronger for talking about my experience. And one of the ways I can do this is through promoting my charity and fundraising work for the Leukaemia Foundation.”
With family and friends alongside, Jenna is a regular at the Foundation’s annual ‘Light the Night’ walks, where she was asked to speak in 2017 on behalf of all survivors. Jenna also devotedly organises fundraising events in her school for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“Here at Caboolture State School during the renowned World’s Greatest Shave event in March, we have our annual ‘Crazy Hair Day’ where each year we strive to go bigger and better than the year before. Last year, with similar contests planned for this year, we had events such as a ‘Teacher Crazy Hair Raffle’ where a student gets to do a teacher’s hair for the day, ‘Stick The Groundsman to the Wall’ using masking tape, ‘Throw the Sponge at the Teacher’, as well as getting people’s hair sprayed. Our male Deputy had his head shaved because we raised over $600, our female Deputy was covered in stamps, and our Principal got his ear pierced. I can whole-heartedly attest to the fact that the Leukaemia Foundation does amazing things for patients with leukaemia and their associated families, and every cent we raise is given to them to help provide important services.”
As a recipient herself of the Leukaemia Foundation’s support services whilst going through her treatment, Jenna and her family were housed for free for six months in a beautiful, air-conditioned unit within Leukaemia Village, close to the city hospital. Along with free counselling and financial assistance given to pay bills whilst undergoing her treatment, Jenna desires to give back what was so generously given.
“All of the services provided by the Foundation rely solely upon donations as they are a not-for-profit organisation receiving no financial government assistance. I was incredibly lucky both in what was provided and the fact that I have survived. Whilst my health is back to normal and no longer needs monitoring, I still live by the adage that life is too short for nonsense. Be real, be honest and live the life you want to live. Be a kind and good person, because everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It’s important to be kind. Always.”
For anyone wishing to donate to the Leukaemia Foundation, monetary donations can be dropped off at Caboolture State School’s office for their Crazy Hair Day or through the http://www.leukaemia.org.au/ website.