My name is Tristan Yelland. I’ve always loved life.
Being able to help people in many different ways, joking around and making others laugh... Making friends has always been easy as I just be myself and normally that's more than enough for most people.
I was once devoted to basketball, playing in many high level competitions, but also went on to coaching junior basketball and put in lots of time and commitment into helping our youngsters. I devoted my life to helping people. I did this by becoming a paramedic, something I would still do today if it wasn't for the current circumstances. I saved many lives and helped many more. Being an ambo was the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life and it is something I am very passionate about.
Unfortunately in February this year my life took a massive, horrendous turn for the worst.
I fell very sick and even the doctors didn't know what was happening.
We went through months and months of being told that nothing was really wrong. That was until August this year where I was diagnosed with ALS/motor neurone disease.
I am now fighting to save my own life. Motor neurone disease (MND) is a progressive, terminal neurological disease. MND can strike anyone.
There is no known cure and no effective treatment for MND. People with MND progressively lose the use of their limbs and the ability to speak, swallow and breathe, whilst their mind and senses usually remain intact. Average life expectancy is 2.5 years.
More than 2,000 people have MND in Australia of whom 60% are male and 40% are female.
The total cost of MND in Australia was $2.37 billion in 2015. This equates to $1.1 million per person. For every person diagnosed with MND it is estimated that a further 14 members of their family and their friends will live with the effect of MND forever.
I can no longer walk unaided and have to use a wheelchair when we leave the house.
My breathing isn't so good due to the respiratory issues caused by the illness, I feel like I’m being strangled around my lungs and even a few steps is enough to tire me out. My strength in my arms, torso, neck and face are getting weaker all the time and my muscles are wasting away to nothing and I know it won't be long till I lose most, if not all, of my movement and I’ll pretty much be paralysed.
I can no longer drive as its to unsafe. There is no chance of any employment, I am either resting in bed or in my personal lift chair. Not by choice I must add. I am getting frustrated and very bored. I have lost all ability to be independent and I rely heavily on my wife. This is very difficult to come to grips with as I was a very active man within life and community. All this time, as hard as it is, I've been battling through it with the amazing strength from my partner Renay. She does her best, But it`s clearly a struggle.
My partner is my soul mate, my angel I call her, and she is my world!!!
Without this woman I just could not manage this. She is now also my fulltime carer and does pretty much everything for me, not something any husband wishes upon his wife. I also have a beautiful daughter who is 9 years old. I was told I was would be never able to have children. She is our miracle and I could not be prouder. She also helps my wife care for me, even doing some things that you shouldn't expect from a 9 year old. That's the type of child she is, very caring and loving. My wife and daughter are what keep me going. From my immediate family I have 2 sisters and a brother, sadly they are not around to help with the situation. But I have 2 very amazing parents who love and care for me very much and do all they can. My father is also very ill, so they are limited to how they can help. I love them both very much.
Constantly seeing my partner and my daughter in tears, I must add that even though I’m being strong, there are parts of this illness that can't be controlled and as such it puts a lot of stress on my wife and daughter.
This is not the way I want my daughter to remember me.
There isn't much in the way of treatment for ALS/MND. The aim is to make me comfortable via different services. There are 2 medicines that I know of that can help prolong life, but these are very expensive, costing over $100k a year. Then there are all the trips to specialists. We live in country Victoria. We have to travel to the city. The accommodation and other expenses that come with being away from home are taking a massive toll on my wife and daughter. They are skipping meals to try and cover the cost of keeping me alive.
People and families with MND/ALS on average need to spend an extra $30,000 upwards a year on treatment and other things. This is a pretty impossible task when the only income we have is from Centrelink and we have already used all our savings and we have also sold most of our valuable possessions. I have tried desperately hard to do all this on my own but unfortunately I've come to realise that I can no longer afford to maintain what lesser quality of life I now have.
I don't want to seem like a beggar. But as one of my friends said, "You're not begging!!! You're trying to save your life!!" You so unselfishly saved many lives; you at least deserve to be able to spend what time you have left making fun and happy memories. Well yes, but not without help sadly. My family can no longer afford to support me and I can't bare to see my wife and daughter sad and unhappy anymore, I just want them to remember some great times and right now that doesn't look like it's going to happen due to our finances.
I really hope through donations I can create some happy life long memories for my daughter to treasure. She is my miracle, my reason to keep fighting this crippling disease. With that thought ringing in my head I'm asking you all to please help me save my life. There are no treatments or cure available to slow or stop this crippling disease. I ask you for your help to make things just that little bit easier and to brighten the faces of two amazing girls who I love greatly.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my story. I understand that not everybody is in a position to donate but any donations will be greatly appreciated.
Humble, kindest of regards,