By Josh Saunders
A terminal cancer sufferer is determined to defy doctors’ five years to live prognosis thanks to her bucket list of adventures.
Belinda Weihen, 28, from Sydney, Australia, was diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer shortly after doctors found a malignant tumour in her bowel in 2015.
Her bucket list started shortly after the terminal diagnosis and so far, she has already swum with green turtles, skydived in Hawaii, had a tattoo, met Dita Von Teese, seen the Aurora Australis and more.
One of her challenges, to be the top fundraiser at the Cupid’s Undie Run two-years-ago, saw her draw in a whopping $27,000AUD for charity.
Belinda donated the money to a Neurofibromatosis charity to help find a cure for the genetic disorder that causes tumours to form around nerve tissue – and she has suffered with her whole life.
After numerous rounds of chemotherapy, she’s started a clinical trial in an attempt to halt the disease from progressing further.
She is determined that by remaining as positive as she can and focussing on the challenges, it will buy her more time – allowing her to beat her five-year-prognosis.
The former-medical administrator said: “Skydiving and swimming with green turtles in Hawaii Dec 2015 were my first bucket list items. It was my pre-major surgery getaway and I enjoyed every moment.
“There’s something unique about Hawaii, I instantly feel relaxed there.
“I’ve always wanted to skydive and I felt the views in Hawaii would be better than my options in Australia.
“It also made me feel like I’d actually achieved something in case I didn’t survive the surgery or didn’t recover enough physically to be able to do either of those things afterwards.
“From there the bucket list began, that I have stacked with many achievable things and some ‘dream big’ things.
“Most of my wishes are animal or nature based, I adore raccoons and even follow several instafamous ones and will watch videos of them to cheer me up.
“The way I see it is that focusing on the negative and drowning myself in sorrow isn’t going to get me anywhere, it also doesn’t help you in the downhill battle.
“I’m stage four, I won’t be cured, but we can try and get as much extra time as possible.
“Staying positive is also about also achieving short term goals and milestones as well as keeping an eye on the bigger picture which from day one was to beat this 12% five-year survival statistic.
“There are so many things beyond my control, the only thing I can do is change how I see them and how I let it affect me.”
One of her favourite bucket list items, watching Dita Von Teese perform live, was made even better in June after getting the opportunity to meet the burlesque idol in person.
Belinda said: “Meeting Dita was like a dream, I was literally speechless.
“I took my friend with cystic fibrosis as it was one of her bucketlist items too, while meeting her she too struggled to find words.
“Dita is just as stunning close up as she is in her photos, her costumes are incredible.
“It was like skydiving, my heart raced, and I was a little scared but so excited, it didn’t feel real for a few moments and I almost had to pinch myself to check.
“For a month after and whenever I look at the photos of us, I get filled with absolute happiness.
“I even booked tickets to see her again this year because of how much pure happiness I felt during her show.”
Belinda was diagnosed with cancer during a routine scan of a benign tumour in her leg – that was caused by Neurofibromatosis.
She would go onto have surgery to remove the remaining part of her bowel and half her small bowel, uterus and ovaries, part of her liver, nodules off her spleen, outer lining of her bladder and right diaphragm.
It was revealed she was stage four and given a 12% chance of living past the five-year life expectancy.
She started her bucket list some of the challenges in an attempt to keep her focused and positive, some items include: swimming with dolphins, petting raccoons, squirrels and foxes.
Others are once in a lifetime moments, from diving the Great Barrier Reef to seeing the northern lights, visiting Yosemite National Park, Disneyland, Japan and more.
Belinda said: “I have a wonderful family who’ve supported me the last 2 years. I haven’t set up a fundraiser for my bucket list at present as I have been too shy to ask for help.
“Most of my items now require international travel and connections with the right people, like getting in Ellen audience.
“It also comes down to my oncologist letting me take time off treatment and the risk of traveling without insurance, as no one covers you for health problems when you have metastatic cancer.”
Belinda continues to remain positive and fills herself with hope.
On Valentine’s day Belinda plans to take on another charity and is continuing to fundraise here: www.cupidsundierun2018.everydayhero.com/au/belinda
BELINDA’S BUCKET LIST
– Swim with dolphins
– Get SCUBA certified and dive the Great Barrier Reef
– See the northern lights
– Pet/feed baby raccoon / visit raccoon sanctuary
– Pet/feed squirrels
– Pet a fox
– Go hang gliding
– Release lanterns at a lantern festival
– Go dog sledding
– See Yosemite National Park
– Experience the magic of Disneyland
– Be a mermaid for a day- with see through sea in Hawaii
– Be in audience on Ellen
-Go to Japan
-Go to Color Factory – Interactive color museum!
-Meet Sia (and have her meet my rescue kelpie with the same name)
BUCKET LIST ITEMS ACHIEVED
– Skydive in Hawaii – Dec 2015
– Swim with green turtles – Dec 2015
– Be the top fundraiser for Cupids Undie Run – 2016
– Smooth sea never made a skilled sailor/ship tattoo
– See the Aurora Australis
– See Dita Von Teese perform – JUNE 2016
– See Sia perform – DEC 2017
– Have an art deco inspired parti-sapphire ring made