Sydney mum, Emma Capell, was told she had a ‘rare and deadly cancer’ which would ‘cave in her face’ before killing her.

The 51-year-old single mother of three was told ‘nothing could help her’, so she made a will and was discharged – ‘sent home to die’.

Now one year and a trip to America later and her future is looking better – after travelling to the US for proton treatment she read about online.

‘Facebook saved my life,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘That’s where I found out about proton, after connecting with other people from around the world who had the same cancer as me.’

‘I wasn’t nervous when I hopped on the plane because I knew it would work,’ she said.

‘I had been in touch with a doctor over there whose life work was to treat people with my cancer, he had seen more than 635 patients and said I had a good prognosis.’

Proton therapy could be available in Australia by 2020, a revelation which gives relief to the mother who, in November last year, thought she ‘had a maximum 15 months’ left with her family. Read her full story on Daily Mail.

A couple of years ago a mum put the call out on Facebook for a lifesaving organ donation for her son and received the gift for Christmas she was hoping for! Read that story HERE.

Facebook also helped this mum finally get a diagnosis for her little girls mystery illness.

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  • Hi Emma, I’m glad you set the record straight. I know for a fact that this is not the first time reports have not been correct…or at the very least have been made sensational. I am glad the treatment work for you. Sadly it doesn’t work for all people. I wish you a happy healthy future.


  • Hi, this is the lady in question, Emma Capell.
    Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes. The sensationalist article wasn’t totally correct, sadly. I was not ‘sent home to die’, but I did spent 2 weeks at home awaiting biopsy and diagnosis, (having been shown MRI images of a super rare tumour in the middle of my head that the major hospital could not identify), believing it was brain cancer and that I had on average 15 months to live as per the brain cancer leaflets I read in hospital. I also happened upon a documentary on TV about a woman Tambu Makinzi with my same tumour who died 4 years after her treatment failed and it enlarged to 2kg. This was a wake up call to get the right treatment.
    I saw 9 specialists in total for 2nd and 3rd opinions and was initially offered only normal radiation in Australia.
    After seeing how little experience there was here for treating my particular tumour, due to its rarity (one in 2 to 3 million) I did do extensive research via reading and talking to skull base chondrosarcoma patients around the world, on Facebook. That part is true. I learned that only proton would work on my tumour which was sadly inoperable and resistant to both chemo and normal radiation. I then found an oncologist (indirectly through Rare Cancers Australia) who agreed that proton radiation would be the best option for me. She helped me with my application for overseas treatment funding with MTOP (Medical Treatment Overseas Programme) and here I am, well and totally grateful.
    I did the Daily Mail interview to let people with rare cancers know that they might find information on as well as other patients of their rare cancers. Facebook support groups do more than offer prayer; they offer very practical advice gleaned from their own worldwide specialists and medical journeys. I was not given any bogus information. When you post a question, you get multiple answers from people who have lived through the fear and subsequent treatments. It was invaluable information and support and still is, as you adjust to your ‘new normal’. I also wanted to let people know that there is government funding available through MTOP if you meet the strict criteria, for treatment overseas. Most importantly, I hope my story helps bring Proton radiotherapy to Australia. There are 50 machines around the world, mostly in the USA but in much small countries also. I believe we are long overdue for offering proton here!
    I hope this makes sense, all the best


  • Social media gives us access to so much information. It’s amazing to see when it’s so helpful like now!!


  • Good to know that your health is improving and your story others too with the same condition.


  • Glad to hear she got a positive outcome.


  • Wow! That’s pretty incredible, I’ve learnt some things myself through Facebook but this is going that extra mile. So happy for her :)


  • Social media isn’t all bad, but it does need to be used with caution when it comes to medical stuff.


  • Wishing Emma all the best for the future.


  • Great result, nice to see social media used for good


  • That’s beautiful. Social media isn’t all bad !


  • Excellent outcome for this woman! Social media at it’s best and what it was designed for – connecting us


  • It’s amazing how much knowledge can be shared on social media and sometimes it’s for good which is great.


  • Sad to hear about them not helping her, but I’m glad for her that she found a treatment that saved her.


  • Can’t believe she wasn’t told about this treatment by her Doctor, or that it isn’t available here yet! I hope her future becomes brighter and brighter now!


  • I agree with the comments so far. So glad this lady is doing well.


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