It was only after Julie Byrne almost blew up at a complete stranger in a shop parking lot she realised she needed help.
The mother-of-two had been struggling emotionally since returning from hospital for her four-month-old son Alex’s cancer treatment.
Ms Byrne was at Parliament House on Thursday to help launch Camp Quality’s ‘New Normal’ smart phone app, designed to help families with the challenges of returning home after cancer treatment.
She said she always looked forward to returning home, but found herself out of sync with her family, and struggling with depression and anxiety.
A trip to the shops was her first since returning from the hospital, and her eldest daughter Lucy had banged the car door into a stranger’s car.
Ms Byrne, with baby Alex strapped to her chest, saw the driver returning and was already getting angry.
“This gentleman was going to get up me about a stupid little dint in his car, when I had been fighting this big battle with my son,” Ms Byrne said.
“It must have boiled up on my face.”
She said the driver took one look at her and drove off.
“I didn’t realise I needed help until that point,” Ms Byrne said.
Alex, now 12, is cancer free and healthy.
The app – Ms Byrne’s brain child – provides information and therapy tips for families, as well as services like meal delivery.
Ms Byrne said sometimes every little thing helped.
“That’s what this app is about, it’s to take the pressure off and ease back to normality,” Ms Byrne said.
Speaking at the launch of the government-funded app, Health Minister Greg Hunt said even at the best of times, families had to adapt to the “new normal” when young ones were undergoing treatment.
He said each year over 800 Australians aged under 15 will be diagnosed with cancer, and 100 of them won’t survive.
Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen said Labor was still committed to an election promise to deliver $3.7 million in funding over three years to Camp Quality.