Maroochydore couple Tegen and Alex White in happier times, months before Tegen's tragic terminal cancer diagnosis.
Maroochydore couple Tegen and Alex White in happier times, months before Tegen's tragic terminal cancer diagnosis.

Devastating terminal cancer diagnosis rocks young family

TEGEN and Alex White were told by doctors to crack out the champagne and celebrate having successfully navigated through a nasty breast cancer fight.

That was in July, after a six-month battle with an aggressive breast cancer, Tegen was in the clear.

The young couple's plans of moving north for Tegen to start her teaching career, away from their Cotton Tree home, were again realistic.

Within a month, the White's world crashed down, with Tegen receiving an even more brutal diagnosis.

Tegen, just 31, was diagnosed with a rare and progressive terminal cancer called leptomeningeal disease.

It had spread to her neck, brain lining and spine.

Maroochydore couple Tegen and Alex White in happier times, months before Tegen's terminal cancer diagnosis.
Maroochydore couple Tegen and Alex White in happier times, months before Tegen's terminal cancer diagnosis.

"We went from yahooing one week to a month later Tegen being terminal," husband Alex said.

"Doctors were initially able to cut out the cancer cells and it was dead. They told us to celebrate."

Incredibly, both Alex and Tegen remain positive.

Their strong, popular and charming character still shine bright despite the latest setback.

Minutes before leaving on a four-day mini holiday to island hop, the electrician-by-trade spoke to the Sunshine Coast Daily of the admiration he had for his wife.

"Some days are struggles big time, but you have to take them in your stride," he said.

"Tegen is one tough bugger. She's amazing.

He said his family preferred Tegen to him.

"She's everyone's favourite.

"We actually met when I was travelling overseas, we had mutual friends but it was love at first sight.

"I got her to come holiday here and she loved it.

"We got married in 2012."

The community has rallied around the beloved couple, pitching in with donations.

Mitchell Surman with the surfboard he designed for Tegen White who has terminal cancer. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Mitchell Surman with the surfboard he designed for Tegen White who has terminal cancer. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Cotton Tree surfboard shaper Mitch Surman has surfed with the young couple "forever" and has crafted a board to help the family on the journey ahead.

He said the board features airwork designed by Tegen, encased with resin.

"She is a very giving person, such an awesome human," Mr Surman said.

"Whenever I see her coming out into the surf she's just beaming."

He said he had tried to help the couple where he could.

"I know Alex hasn't really been able to work properly since January.

"And it costs a lot travelling back and forth from Brisbane.

"They're just both great people and this is the least I can do."

Raffles are being sold through the Glass Coffee House and Surf Gallery in Maroochydore with all proceeds going directly to the Whites.

Already about 100 tickets have been sold, with an uncapped goal in sight.



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