Community rallies to help much-loved paramedic
A DEDICATED paramedic who has spent years helping his community now needs assistance after being diagnosed with cancer.
With 14 years as a paramedic under his belt, Roy Potter was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer stage 3 just after his 50th birthday.
Ironically, Mr Potter said he was diagnosed a few weeks after receiving his National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kit, which is sent every two years to all Australians aged 50 to 74 years.
"But by the time I received the package my GP had already told me I had cancer," he said.
"It sounds strange, I know, but I was really worried it was a chronic disease like Crohn's, where I would suffer lifelong pain and illness. I was relieved it was cancer instead."
Now his work colleagues have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $30,000 to cover his medical treatments, and after being launched on May 2, more than $11,000 has been donated.
Paramedic Katie Fisher said Mr Potter always put other people first, and all of his workmates were devastated by the diagnosis and right behind him during this tough time.
"Roy is going to require some pretty hideous treatment in order to fight this," she said.
"This treatment means that potentially he may need as much as 12 months off work and with a young family, the financial burdens will mount."
Mr Potter said he was a bit embarrassed by the GoFundMe campaign and admitted to getting a "bit teary" about it.
"It's easier to stick up for other people than yourself," said the former secretary for the North Coast sub-branch of the NSW Ambulance division of the Health Services Union.
"It's humbling to know people think well of me and nice to be appreciated and feel the love."
Before heading in for his first session of treatment, which will be every weekday for five weeks at Lismore Base Hospital, Mr Potter urged everyone to contact their GP if they noticed a change in their bowel movements.
He also urged everyone to be screened for bowel cancer through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
To donate to the GoFundMe campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/roy-potter-needs-us