'Your son is going to die today'
JODY DAETZ, 17, had been psyching himself up for his final year of high school when symptoms struck.
He complained of aches and pains and told his mum he felt lethargic.
His mother, Gayle Daetz, noticing a change in his demeanour and complexion, took him to get a blood test.
Later that day, Gayle was driving her daughter home from netball when she received a phone call telling her the results of the blood test were in.
The pathologist instructed her to take her son to hospital.
"I went to the children's hospital because I thought 'well, he's still a child' but they said 'no no, you've got to go to the adults hospital'," Gayle said.
"And as soon as we got there, they were waiting for us."
Gayle had never heard the word "leukaemia" until the day her eldest son was diagnosed.
The day after his diagnosis, the teenager was given two weeks to live, a prognosis he outlived by just more than six years.
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Gayle has never forgotten his words that day: "He said, 'I'm going to fight this. I'm going to win.'"
Twenty years later, he is still remembered fondly by all who knew him.
Jody had aspired to be an artist since childhood and was never far from his sketchbook.
Even in hospital he was known for his creative prowess, with other patients asking him to draw for them.
"He did art at high school and then he did the covers of some of the school magazines over at Laidley High," said Gayle.
"That was his dream, to be an artist."
In hospital he bonded with a girl who was also battling leukaemia.
Gayle said one day he went up to visit the girl and her mother.
When he returned, he said, "Mum, what if something happens to her? What will her mum do?"
In April 1999, Jody contracted a virus and was re-hospitalised.
In early May, Jody's doctor said words a mother could never forget.
"He said, 'Your son is going to die today.'"
Five days later, on May 10, Jody passed in the night with his mother by his side.
Six months after her son lost his battle with leukaemia, Gayle decided to channel her grief into helping others affected by the illness.
She became affiliated with the Leukaemia Foundation Australia and now runs Team Jody events to raise money to support families and individuals affected by the cancer as well as fund research.
On May 5, Gayle is hosting a high tea at the Faith Lutheran College. Tickets are $30.
For more information, phone Gayle on 0402 085 260.