'I can’t wait to have a baby of my own,' I told my foster sister Jade, as we watched her children playing.
'You will,' she promised, hugging me.
Jade, 29, and I were inseparable. Mum had fostered her when she was 11 and I was 12, and we’d do anything for each other.
When we grew up, she went on to settle down and have five kids, making me the proudest aunty ever.
I longed to be a mum too but my husband Adam, 34, and I weren’t having much luck.
At 17 I’d been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries or PCOS, a hormonal condition, and my periods were very irregular.
'Lose weight,' advised my gynaecologist. 'That should settle your menstrual cycle.'
I lost 28 kilos but it didn’t help.
The doctor gave me an internal examination to check for blockages. He also removed some tissue and sent it to pathology.
Three days later, he called me in for the results.
'You have endometrial cancer,' he said. 'We need to take your uterus.'
'What?' I cried, shocked. 'But you can’t – I need it to have babies!'
'I’m sorry, but we have to if you’re going to survive,' he replied.
I was hysterical. After trying for a baby for five years, I’d hoped for answers. Instead, my life was on the line.
'Now I’ll never be a mum,' I sobbed in Adam’s arms. 'If I can’t have a baby I don’t want to live.'
Poor Adam was beside himself. So was Jade.
'I can’t lose you,' she wept. 'Have your uterus removed and I’ll carry a baby for you.'
So Adam and I decided to delay the hysterectomy until after I’d had my eggs harvested.
Then we learnt that would cost between $8000 and $12,000.
'We can’t afford it,' I told Jade tearfully.
'I’ll set up a fundraiser for you,' she said.
I was so thankful but it’s a race against the clock. The sooner we raise enough to harvest my eggs, the sooner I can have a hysterectomy and start radiation.
Doctors have given me until December 2 to harvest my eggs, and have scheduled a hysterectomy for December 9.
I’m so scared of running out of time, but I still hope we can do it.
Thanks to Jade’s incredible offer, we might finally have that baby we long for.
To help, visit Lauren's fundraising page.