TROY Lister believed his wife was attempting the impossible when she set out to save his life.
But to his amazement, Marie Lister has now raised more than half of their $100,000 fundraising goal to pay for expensive, life-saving surgery to remove tumours in his brain.
"I must admit, at the start I didn't give her the slightest chance of raising this much money, and this much awareness about not only our story but brain cancer in general," Mr Lister said.
"I can't believe, and I can't credit her enough, for everything she's done."
The 28-year-old father's struggle with terminal cancer has captured the hearts of the Sunshine Coast.
More than 1200 people have donated to the Caloundra family's cause on Go Fund Me alone, pooling more than $52,000 along with a bank account that holds about $2000.
"It's mind-boggling, it's a bit hard to take in sometimes the amount of support that comes in every day," Mr Lister said.
"That in itself gives you the strength to move on, and know that you've got the support of the community behind you."
Troy is still living on borrowed time, and it's impossible to know how long he has left.
Some doctors didn't expect him to see his 28th birthday earlier this year.
It has taken almost a month to raise the money so far, with support from businesses across the Sunshine Coast.
Most of the businesses donated funds for raffles and put out collection tins.
"The majority of the donations are from everyday people," Mrs Lister said.
Mrs Lister believed the community had rallied because the Listers' plight was so relatable.
"With Troy's story, it could honestly happen to anyone," she said.
"He's 28, he's still young."
The family needs to pay the full $100,000 before they can book a date for the surgery, performed in Sydney by renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo.
Mrs Lister said her husband had suffered "a few rough days" recently, but was in good spirits.
The brain cancer comes with symptoms including severe short-term memory loss, headaches and seizures.
"It's a bit of a mystery box of a morning, what sort of day I'm going to have," Mr Lister said.
"Some days I wake up, jump out of bed and feel like my old self, and nothing's wrong.
"Other days I'll wake up and you know straight away it's not going to be the greatest day.
"The medication takes hold of you, and you get a bit dopey, so there's no energy to do much.
"Then the headaches come, and you cross your fingers and hope a seizure doesn't follow."
But he's determined to make the most of his time with his family.
"You've got to push past that and soldier on... I refuse to let that dictate me having a bad day," Mr Lister said.
"There's times that I would just like to curl up on the couch or in the room and close the door and have some quiet time, but that's not fair on the kids.
"They don't understand or deserve to have that in their life.
"They come home from school and they want to talk to us about how their day was, and what they learnt.
"And I want to be a part of that as well, I don't want to miss out on any of that."
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