Several Australian footballers have rallied around a Melbourne City fan who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Paula – a foundation member of Melbourne Heart, now City – had surgery to remove duodenal cancer four years ago, however, the cancer has now returned and is an advanced stage. Forced to seek urgent and intensive treatment outside of Australia, Paula is running out of options.

“I’m a die-hard Melbourne City member,” Paula told “I’ve been emotionally entrenched in the club since the inception of Melbourne Heart. I live and breathe City. 

“Unfortunately, recently I found out my cancer has returned metastatically through my lymph nodes, which puts me in the one per cent of rare cancers category. 

“I’m going to need treatment, but it looks like I’ll have to go overseas for it, because my cancer is so rare, they don’t have many options for me in Australia.”

Given her predicament, Paula’s attitude has been to try and stay positive and to take proactive action. She recently set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her treatment and held an ‘pre-treatment’ event with friends and family. The response from Australia’s footballers to both have given Paula hope.

“Facing this with two children is difficult and remaining positive is key,” Paula said. “I decided to throw a pre-treatment party and wanted it to be a relaxed, fun and happy occasion to lift my spirits. It was the most amazing day I’ve had in a long time. My beautiful friend Mary, who is as crazy about City as I am, told me she had a surprise for me.

“After most of the crowd left, two very special guests turned up; City’s Bart Schenkeveld and Patrick Kisnorbo! I had to pinch myself and still can’t believe they were in my house.

“We chatted and chatted for a couple of hours about football, school, my son’s football life in Japan, work, music and life in general. 

“I’ve always admired them both so greatly as hard working, focused players who always put their bodies on the line for their team. After spending this time with them, I have an even greater admiration for them both as generous, compassionate guys who didn’t have to spend their public holiday at my house, but did it out of kindness.

Both Bart and Patrick visited Paula to demonstrate their support; an indication of players’ commitment to their fans outside of their intense and often gruelling day-to-day commitments.

Now more players have supported Paula online, by donating through her GoFundMe page and showing support through their social media accounts.

For those who would like to contribute to Paula’s fundraising, please contribute at Paula’s GoFundMe page.