At 17, Abbie Basson’s world could not have looked better. She had just started a science degree at UWA on her chosen career path to becoming a forensic psychologist when she woke up one night in April 2009 with an excruciating pain in her lower back. Following multiple tests, four weeks later the results came back that she had stage 4 Ewing’s Sarcoma, with the primary bone tumour in her pelvis and metastatic tumours in her lungs, lymph nodes and throughout her skeleton. Life as she knew it was put on hold while she started upon eight months of intensive chemotherapy, together with six weeks of radiation. Surgery was not an option because of the location of the primary tumour. Following this, she was given the all clear and she returned to university and making the most of life. Less than six months later, however, the cancer reinvaded her spine, skeleton, skull, lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. Because such a short time had passed since her last round of chemotherapy, treatment options were limited. She joined an insulin growth factor receptor clinical trial but by then the cancer had also infiltrated her bone marrow and she was too unwell to undertake further chemotherapy. Abbie’s sarcoma journey drew to a peaceful and dignified end in August 2011, only three weeks after her 20th birthday - her generous spirit, positive nature and radiant smile present right up to her final breaths.
During her illness, Abbie became an inspiration to all who came into contact with her, developing a passion for creatively painted fingernails when her hair fell out and determinedly focusing on ways in which to create greater awareness about the rare and highly aggressive cancer that had so impacted her life.
She believed passionately that it was critical to spread awareness of sarcoma and recognition of its symptoms, which are often vague and easily misdiagnosed. She was also motivated to raise funds for quality research into the cause and treatment of the disease. She named her brainchild Sock it to Sarcoma! using an odd socks identifier to symbolize the translocation of genes 11 & 22 found in Ewing’s Sarcoma and to represent the amputations that can all too often be the consequence of a sarcoma diagnosis. A truly community minded individual, Abbie leaves a legacy of a young woman determined to improve the chances for others in the face of her own limited future.