The Em Effect is dedicated to helping all those who have been impacted by blood cancer. Those who have fought blood cancers, those who’ve survived, those living with them and those who have lost the cruellest of battles.
Emily Smith was one of those who didn’t make it. She was a normal, fit, healthy 29-year-old woman when she was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 2018. After two different rounds of chemotherapy and a course of radiation failed to curb the spread of the disease, she was fortunate enough to be accepted to the Brigham and Woman’s hospital in Boston to undergo a course of CAR-T cell therapy; an immunotherapy treatment that is not yet fully approved and widely available to patients in Australia.
Unfortunately by the time she arrived in Boston Emily was quite ill and unable to begin the CAR-T cell therapy immediately. Following a couple of bridging treatments aimed at making her strong enough to begin the CAR-T cell treatment, it was her body (most certainly not her mind) that decided it could no longer fight the disease and she passed away at the age of 30.
My name is Brenton and Emily was my wife and very best friend. Emily had such an amazing character and personality. She showed incredible courage and strength through her battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, all the while maintaining her good humour and positive spirit. Even during her treatment, when she had every right to be selfish, she continued to be the extremely selfless, caring Emily everyone knew and loved. This was typical of Emily, always putting others ahead of herself and never wanting to let anyone down.
Emily had an incredible effect on my life, as she did with all those that knew her. I founded The Em Effect to help the amazing spirit, positive attitude and caring nature of Emily live on and continue to positively impact others.
When we were granted some funding and a place on the treatment program in Boston, we knew we were fortunate to have the opportunity. At the time, we made a promise with each other that when we returned from Boston, we would use Emily’s story to do some fund raising, to give back, to help provide someone else the same opportunity and create awareness for the need for these types of treatments to be available in Australia.
This is certainly not the version of Emily’s story that we had thought or hoped we would be sharing. However, Emily was such a kind, caring and compassionate person and I know she would still want her story told if it meant it could help give somebody else the opportunity for life saving treatment in the future. Through The Em Effect I intend to keep the promise Emily and I made by making Emily a beacon of love, strength and hope for all those battling blood cancers.