Adem Crosby's legacy: 30,000 lives saved in 3 years
IF ONLY life was fair, Brent and Lu Crosby would have suffered through enough to ensure a lifetime free of challenges.
But to quote their son, Adem Crosby, "it is what it is".
Three years ago today , Adem died from leukemia in a Nambour Hospital bed about 100 metres from the one in which he was born.
Lu and Brent had every reason to curl up in a ball and grieve the loss of an amazing young life, who also happened to be their son.
But they knew this wasn't what Adem would have wanted.
Instead, the couple was inspired by Adem's dying wish to raise awareness of the importance of blood donations and increase the appallingly low number of people who give the gift of blood.
"Only 3% of Australians give blood," Brent said.
And then in April last year, the family had to go back to a cancer ward and receive lifesaving blood from someone else because Lu was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Once again, the family was on the scary path of surgery, chemotherapy, treatments, nausea, fear and uncertainty.
Yet raising awareness of Team Adem and blood donations never stopped.
So far, the Team Adem Blood Donation Community has saved more than 30,000 lives since 2013.
It is the largest in Australia and is supported from people across the country.
It's this knowledge that drives Lu and Brent to wake up and continue forward each day.
"It would have been easy to stay in bed and grieve, sometimes I want to," Lu admitted.
"But I choose not to because I know this isn't what Adem would have wanted.
"He wanted to help others."
Lu's breast cancer was picked up in a routine check-up. She was in surgery within a week, receiving treatment from some of the same "nursing family" who looked after Adem.
And in her darkest days, she could almost hear Adem telling her to "put your head up, mum" and focus on what could be dealt with.
A Facebook post he wrote on September 20, 2012, when he was told there was no more hope continues to inspire her and many others.
"Simply, the cancer now has become too advanced, too used to the drugs it's seen," he wrote.
"From here on in, there just isn't any more we can do to fight this disease. They have given myself and my family a figure of around three months.
"It seems like it would be very easy to walk out of the office in complete shock and dismay, horror and sorrow, yet after hearing the news and absorbing it with dad by my side, and knowing that this is what it is, I just felt happy.
"We didn't lose. We won. For two years, we did absolutely everything we needed to, took every tablet, never missed an appointment, always tried to keep fit and exercise, we always kept a level head and mentally, we never let the darkness behind this all consume us."
Lu has finished her cancer treatment and is optimistic it is behind her.