A Wyndham Vale woman is embarking on the trip of a lifetime this week, with help from a local charity.
Angela Manzella, who is battling terminal lung cancer, is taking a week-long trip around Tasmania with her daughter, Nadine, and grandson Joseph.
The 65-year-old left on the Spirit of Tasmania earlier this week and will spend the next seven days exploring the island state, with a little help from The Orange Pigeon charity.
The Orange Pigeon is the brainchild of Melton resident Jenny Howell-Clark, who launched the charity in January 2012 as a fund to grant wishes to dying adults.
Ms Manzella was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, and had received the all-clear after undergoing radiation and six courses of chemotherapy.
But last November, a more aggressive form of lung cancer was discovered during a routine CT scan.
Ms Manzella, who also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is permanently hooked up to an oxygen tank, was given lesser doses of chemotherapy and radiation, and the treatment at first held the cancer at bay.
Then, last month, she felt a lump under her arm and discovered the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes.
The diagnosis means that there is no longer anything doctors can do.
Ms Manzella spent 10 days in palliative care at Werribee Mercy Hospital, but said her upcoming trip to Tasmania has kept her going.
“When we found out that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, they asked us if we could move the trip forward a week,” Nadine said.
“To hear that she might not make it to her holiday … but then, you look at her and she doesn’t seem like she’s going to die.
“It’s a very weird thing to be a part of.”
Ms Manzella added: “Even though you know [you don’t have long], when they tell you you’ve got three weeks, it’s a shock.”
Ms Manzella, a self-confessed foodie, said she was keen to try out the fresh produce, particularly the seafood, that Tasmania has to offer.
“When I found out [about The Orange Pigeon wish], I was bawling, I was so overwhelmed,” Ms Manzella said.
“I feel like there’s other people that need it more than me.”