29 April 2019

Hugo Toovey, 27, Australian Army Captain, Bardon

I had just graduated as a lieutenant in the Army in Canberra and was going to be posted to Brisbane but things didn’t go to plan. I was 22 when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and instead of going to Queensland I was sent back to my home in Adelaide to start chemotherapy and intensive treatment.
About six months later, in October, 2014, I was finally feeling good and was out at a bar with some friends and that’s where I met Amber. We have mutual friends so I’d known who Amber was but we’d never met.

I don’t necessarily believe in fate but if I hadn’t been diagnosed with testicular cancer, I wouldn’t have moved back to Adelaide and met Amber.

Six months after we met, my appendix burst and I was rushed off to hospital. I was sick for a long time but Amber was beside me every step of the way. She has the most beautiful big heart and caring soul. At the end of 2017, I got promoted to Captain in the Army and was offered a posting to Brisbane, my health had improved so Amber and I moved to Queensland.

Things were going really well for the first time in ages. I’d had my five-year scan for testicular cancer and it was clear; I was the fittest and healthiest I had ever been and we both had amazing jobs. But two months later, it all came crashing down.

I’d booked in for what I thought was a routine colonoscopy but got called in to see my specialist right away. The doctor told me I had bowel cancer. I was only young, this wasn’t supposed to happen. I couldn’t have got through it without Amber, she was, and is, my rock. She told me we could get through anything together and we have. I went through some pretty dark times and depression definitely played a part in my life. I know it’s sounds cliché but I really don’t think I could have done it without Amber. While I was in hospital, she was a bright light for me and I looked forward to her coming in every day. It’s been eight months since I was discharged from hospital and I’m feeling pretty good but I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m passionate about raising awareness and prevention and am an ambassador for The Jodi Lee Foundation (JLF). In August, Amber and I will be taking part in their inaugural Queensland Trek which is a two-day 84km hike. Just like everything in my life, Amber will help me through it.

Amber Madgwick, 27, paediatric nurse, Bardon

As soon as I met Hugo at the bar nearly five years ago, we fell in love pretty quickly.

I had already heard about his journey through testicular cancer and knew how full on it had been for him. But being a nurse, I had an understanding of it all and didn’t think twice about it. We went on a few dates but we were serious about each other straight away.

In February last year, he asked if I’d be happy to move to Brisbane and I just wanted to be with Hugo so we packed up our lives in Adelaide and moved to Queensland.


Originally appeared in The Courier Mail on Saturday 27 April 2019, written by Jane Armitstead, U On Sunday.