Aussie mum’s ‘gym injury’ leads to devastating life or death decision

The mum's suspected gym injury turned out to be a rare and aggressive type of cancer.

Bec Macnamara with her three children at the beach (left) and a close up headshot (right).
Mum Bec Macnamara with her three children Toby, Jasper, nine, and Pippa, seven. Source: Supplied

An Australian mum has been dealt a devastating blow after discovering that the source of pain in her leg was not a suspected gym injury but a rare and aggressive type of cancer which left her making a heartbreaking decision.

Mum-of-three Bec Macnamara, 36, had been an avid member of a cross-fit gym in Port Kennedy, WA, when she began to see a physio after having on and off knee pain, suspected to have come from hurting herself during a session.

But as months rolled by, the pain only got worse, and in April, an MRI on her thigh discovered a lesion in the bone that turned out to be a histiocytic sarcoma.

The condition is so rare that Macnamara told Yahoo even doctors weren’t sure how best to treat her cancer. One certain thing, however, was that she would need to have her left leg amputated to survive the cancer.

Fit and healthy Bec Macnamara was a member of a cross-fit gym, where she suspected the 'injury' occurred. Source: Supplied
Fit and healthy Bec Macnamara was a member of a cross-fit gym, where she suspected the 'injury' occurred. Source: Supplied

Macnamara, who is a single mum to Toby, Jasper, nine, and Pippa, seven, said at first, hearing the news was “surreal”.

“It’s all happened very quickly, it’s all a blur,” she told Yahoo. “I spent a fair deal of time trying to stay distracted with the kids and work until I had more information,” she said. As time went on, I got more and more information it was harder to ignore.

“It was pretty scary because it’s extremely rare and doctors didn’t have an answer for what needs to happen. But my main thought was will I be able to watch my kids grow up and will I survive this?”

Initially, Macnamara was given options regarding the future of her leg – she could have chosen to forgo the amputation and focus on chemotherapy first, but after her first round, she rolled over in bed and “heard a big crack”. It was her femur snapping.

It left her forced to make a difficult decision — “It was either live with one leg or die with two,” she said. Last month, she had the amputation surgery which was a success, with surgeons telling Macnamara that the tissue at the top of her leg, where the amputation was performed, was disease-free.

While the mum said it’s “comforting to know that the main part of the cancer is gone,” she faces a long road ahead with at least five more rounds of chemotherapy ahead of her.

“Chemo is not an easy thing to get through,” she admits.

In a remarkable act of kindness, Tony, the owner of Crossfit Gym which Macnamara is a member of, has created a GoFundMe to support the single mum – with $18,000 donated at the time of publication.

“[The money has] come from everywhere, she said. “I’ve been shocked watching the donations come in, people I haven't spoken to for years or people I barely know are donating money. I’m so grateful.”

Macnamara says that the money will help her get through her treatment and her recovery. The defiant mum says it’s her children getting her through the tough time. “I’ve got to do as much as I can to make sure I’ll be there for them,” she said.

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