As the festive season comes at us at a rate of knots it is a time to be at home surrounded by friends and family.
For the Viggor family from Yarrawonga, they will be spending their Christmas day in hospital at St Vincents in Melbourne.
Young father Michael Viggor was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia, requiring him to be away from home and many family members during the Christmas holiday period while he receives treatment in Melbourne.
Michael’s partner Jess Milne and two-year-old son Mason are by his side and will spend the festive period with him in Melbourne and understandably they have said it will be tough to be away from home but as long as they are together that is all that matters.
“Finding out that we will be spending Christmas in hospital was a bit of a shock to everyone,” Jess said.
“But we will all be together for it and that’s what matters to us.
“We will just have to have a big Christmas when we get to come home before his next lot of treatment.”
Michael’s diagnosis was discovered after he had been unwell for a few weeks with a sore throat and headaches.
After multiple doctor’s appointments and being put on antibiotics and steroids, he got to the point where even after 12 hours of sleep he couldn’t stay awake.
The doctor then decided to do a blood test to make sure what he was feeling wasn’t a virus that he couldn’t get rid of.
On Thursday, November 23, only a matter of days since having the blood test Michael and partner Jess Milne got a phone call to return to the doctors to receive the results.
Upon arriving at the doctors, they were taken into the nurse’s room where the doctor then walked in and told Michael “Your blood test has come back and it’s not good. You have leukaemia and you are being airlifted to Melbourne tonight.”
Within the next two hours Michael was taken by ambulance to Albury before being flown to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
“That was one of the hardest nights as we had no idea what was happening, how serious it was and then trying to explain to our two-year-old son Mason why his dad was being taken away and why he couldn’t go with him was heart breaking,” said partner Jess.
“No-one got a good sleep that night, but the next morning Mason and I left Yarrawonga and went straight down to St Vincent’s hospital where we have been ever since, right by Michael’s side.”
Although already being told he had leukemia Michael then had to have a bone marrow biopsy in Melbourne where they diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia.
Within four days of being told by his doctor in Yarrawonga that his sore throat and headaches were something much worse, Michael was started on chemotherapy.
“Everything just went so quick,” Jess said.
“He has had some really bad days with his first lot of chemo, but he is still positive and is still being the character that he has always been.
“Hopefully we will get some good news when we get his next bone marrow biopsy done.”
Some of the people who are right behind Michael in his fight are his employers and workmates at Hargreaves Joinery in Yarrawonga.
Michael has worked at Hargreaves for more than 10 years and is a loyal and hardworking staff member as well as friend.
Director of Hargreaves Joinery Cath Hargreaves said he is one of the company’s most hard-working staff members and has become not only an employee but a friend as well.
“Mick is genuinely one of the ‘good guys’,” Cath said.
“In business you see a lot of people come and go, your team evolves but there are always a few rare people that come in to your business that you hope to keep for life, Mick for us is one.
“Over the 10 years he’s been with us he has proved himself to be one of the most reliable hard-working people we have.”
Cath said right from the beginning her and partner Nev knew they were on to a good thing hiring Michael and had a feeling he was going to be a handy employee for years to come.
“Mick came to us seeking an apprenticeship, he’d come from working in the abattoirs but wanted to make a career for himself and get a trade,” Cath said.
“He would have taken a severe pay cut to do so, that in itself says a lot about him. It wasn’t long till we realised we’d hit the jackpot with Mick.
“He was hard working, had a great attitude, and excelled as a tradesman very quickly.”
One thing that Cath said has always stood out about him in work and life is a trait that not everybody possesses these days.
“He possesses something very rare, integrity,” Cath said.
“He has it in his work, his commitment to us and the guys he works with.
“Not only is Mick a valued member of our team but he’s a friend and is always ready with a smile, asks how you are and actually cares about your response.”
Upon hearing these comments you would not think it would be a surprise that so many people want to get behind Mick and his family but Jess said they never expected the support they have received and they are immensely grateful.
“We are taking each day as it comes,” Jess said.
“We never ever expected all the love and support we have received since we let everyone know about Michael’s diagnosis.
“We honestly couldn’t thank everyone enough.”
This Friday, December 22 Hargreaves Joinery will host an end of year BBQ between 12pm and 2pm with all proceeds donated to Mick and his family.
In another incentive to attend the BBQ lunch, Hargreaves apprentice Austin Frauenfelder has vowed to shave off his glorious locks if the team can raise $1000.
Catherine said that if they were to reach the target Hargreaves Joinery would then match that with a further $1000.
Make sure to make your way to Hargreaves Joinery at 2 O’Brien Road on Friday and enjoy time with fellow community members as well as making a donation to a deserving family.