Woman's courageous brain tumour journey
KINGAROY resident, Andrea Lanham hasn't let a brain tumour get in her way from living a great life, despite many setbacks.
Ms Lanham, 37, was treated for a brain tumour when she was just a four-year-old girl.
"I had major head surgery," she said.
"It was removed, but back then they didn't have the technology to get all of it."
Thankfully the part-removal of the tumour did not affect the budding dancing star's potential career.
However her dancing days were short lived.
By the time she was 11, the tumour had regrown.
"When I was 11, the technology had improved and they were able to remove all the tumour," she said.
"I had two operations within 10 days of each other, but the brain didn't like it.
"Everything shut down, I couldn't walk or talk.
"And I had just been offered a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dancing Summer School."
Ms Lanham came out of hospital in an electrical wheelchair and she had to learn how to walk and talk again.
"I was like a baby again," she said.
The young go-getter was not deterred by her physical challenges and did not listen when she was told she would never get out of the wheelchair.
Ms Lanham moved to Kingaroy at 22 with her father when his marriage to Andrea's mother had ended.
While she loved the region, she found it hard to secure employment.
"I had a degree in biomedical science, but I couldn't get work here," she said.
"I went for jobs but my disability was held against me so I just didn't bother."
Chasing love, Ms Lanham moved away from the South Burnett at 27 to move in with the man who would become her husband, but the once loving marriage quickly dissolved.
"It went swimmingly at first, but after two years it kind of slowly died," she said.
"I started a teaching degree and by the time I had almost finished my degree, my husband left me.
"I found out after he left that he was cheating on me."
As a single mother with two young girls, Ms Lanham struggled to finish her degree and had to give up on her teaching dream.
The loving mother moved back to Kingaroy in September last year to be closer to family.
"I went into a coma last year," she said.
"My oldest daughter was crying herself to sleep worrying about her mother.
"I knew I had to move back here for the girls."
Things are looking up for Ms Lanham and she has even found a job.
"I have settled my girls into school. My youngest has started Prep this year," she said.
"I got talking to the lady who runs the pool and she said 'if you can get a first aid certificate I can give you some hours'.
She loves her role at the Kingaroy pool and is still interested in pursuing her dream of working in a classroom.
"I managed to get my teacher aide certificate when the girls were young," she said.
"I am doing volunteer reading at the girls' school.
"Hopefully that will turn into something."
With her mum in Moffatdale and father and brother in Kingaroy, Ms Lanham said she was finally settled and happy.
"The girls love it here, they have cousins and family. We never had any of that in Brisbane," she said.