A grateful patient of the PA Hospital is hoping to turn his hobby into a fundraising event to say thanks to all at the hospital that have cared for him.
Lee Hobbins will host a Blood Bowl tournament at Chermside Library on May 7, to raise funds for the PA Research Foundation and show his gratitude to the hospital that has been treating him for renal cell carcinoma (renal cancer).
Blood Bowl is a miniatures based board game based loosely off American Football and is set in the fantasy world of Warhammer and involves playable characters such as human warriors, goblins, dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and more.
Lee took up Blood Bowl again as a good distraction from everything he had been and was going through with his cancer treatment and to say the father of two has been through a tough match of his own since first being diagnosed is an understatement.
Lee Hobbins (right) with his family.
The normally fit and healthy registered nurse was first diagnosed with renal cancer in 2015 after discovering what he thought was a hernia and seeking advice.
He ended up being referred for scans by his GP and the first scan found the hernia was actually swelling from a blood clot. A subsequent scan resulted in the most shocking of news, the blood clot was caused by tumours in his kidneys, a revelation which Lee described as a ‘complete bombshell’.
His GP soon informed him he had renal cancer in not just in one kidney but both.
After initially being sent for an appointment at another Brisbane Hospital where he was told he would likely have to have both kidneys removed and be placed on dialysis. Thankfully he was referred to the PA Hospital under the care of urologist Dr Simon Woods, who was confident he could save some of one kidney and some kidney function as a result.
What followed was a mammoth surgery under Dr Woods care which also involved a specialist hepatic surgeon. Followed by a short stay in PA’s intensive care unit and months of recovery in Ward 4E.
“Even the surgeon said he was surprised because normally people only have one tumor in one kidney, but I had them on both sides,” Lee said.
“Apparently one of the tumours on one side was as large as your fist. It was pretty scary, just the fact that I had a blood clot coming out of the one tumor, which could have broke off and given me a stroke or killed me legitimately at any point as well. It was all quite a big shock.
“They removed the left kidney, if you were to look at my right kidney on a scan, it looks like there's been a semi-circular shark bite out of the middle of it.”
After recovering for 12 months, Lee was faced with another hurdle in 2016, when his cancer was found to have metastasized to one his adrenal glands which resulted in another major surgery.
He would then be monitored by regular scans every six months and even returned to work as a nurse. It was at the five-year mark where he was again rocked by bad news, but again the PA was been there to help him.
“I was thinking if I can just get beyond the five year mark I’ll be ok, I was just taking it year by year and it had come up to the end of the fifth year and I was like, ‘oh, wait, you know, maybe I've got away with this’,” he said.
“But then I went for scan and they said ‘we’re very sorry, but we've seen something come up there on the CT scan. It looks like you've got a small lesion in your pancreas’. It was just devastating, to get that far and just feel like the rug had just been pulled from underneath me,” Lee said.
"They did a little bit more investigation and basically found that I've got three lesions in the pancreas. One in that just behind my sternum, one in my thyroid and one in my left buttock.”
Lee has since been placed on an immunotherapy trial by the team at the PA, which has successfully kept his lesions at bay for two years and allowed him quality of life, which spurred him on to want to give back through his love for Blood Bowl.
“I was miserable over Christmas because I had a CT scan coming up and I’d really worked myself up thinking it would be bad. The scan came back absolutely fine,” he said.
“I was really upset with myself for putting myself into that sort of mindset and making myself worry. I decided I wanted to do something positive for myself, but at the same time, something positive for other people and give back a little bit to the people that have helped me.
“The PA Hospital have been my main carers through this past eight year journey. My hobby and passion is Blood Bowl so I hope I can combine the two and try give something back.”
Lee hopes to attract 20 Blood Bowl players for the 7 May tournament to be held at Chermside Library with Warhammer and Blood Bowl related raffles on the day to help raise funds.
If you’re interested in playing in the Blood Bowl or supporting Lee you can email email@example.com for more information.