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Ethan Jolley taking each day in his stride

PROBLEM SOLVER: Horsham’s Ethan Jolley has been dealt a rough road in the past two years, but has set himself up for a bright future. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

PROBLEM SOLVER: Horsham’s Ethan Jolley has been dealt a rough road in the past two years, but has set himself up for a bright future. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

By Colin MacGillivray
Horsham’s Ethan Jolley is a problem solver.
The 19-year-old refuses to let anything stand in his way – not even cancer.
In 2016, while in year 11 at Horsham’s St Brigid’s College, Ethan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He endured six months of chemotherapy treatment, travelling to Ballarat every fortnight for appointments.
While many people would view cancer as a life-altering experience, Ethan simply saw it as a roadblock – another problem to overcome.
“They caught it really early, so the prognosis was good,” he said.
“I took it on my chin and went with it and accepted that I was diagnosed with cancer.
“I didn’t let it stop me do the things I wanted to do.
“Yes, I lost my hair and looked a bit different, but my mental attitude and the way I went about things was the same.
“I wasn’t locking myself in a room and feeling sad for myself, I just said, ‘that’s life. Let’s push on and beat it’.”
Ethan responded well to the treatment and was clear of any signs of cancer by November 2016.
So, when he encountered another of life’s roadblocks the next year, he tackled it with the same problem-solving attitude.
Ethan applied to join the Australian Defence Force in 2017 while completing year 12.
He had dreamed of joining the defence force since he was a child, inspired by the service of two great-grandparents and several other family members.
But when he applied to join he was knocked back because of concerns about his cancer treatments.
“I appealed it, giving evidence that I was fit and healthy, but they knocked me back again because when you have had cancer, in the first five years there’s a certain percentage chance of it coming back again,” he said.
“After five years that percentage drops – it’s called the remission period.
“During that time you need to see your oncologist regularly.
“At the moment I’m seeing my oncologist every four months to do physical checks and blood tests.
“If I was to join the defence force, they couldn’t guarantee me having those regular check-ups.
“I could be deployed overseas for a year and not have a check-up and it could come back.”
On hold
It was a blow for Ethan, who had been a member of Horsham’s Australian Air Force Cadets 422 squadron since he was 13.
“I loved the cadets, I loved the discipline side of things, I loved having that strict manner and pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone. I thrived on all of that,” he said.
“I knew joining the air force was what I wanted to do, because there were a lot of management roles.
“I wanted to go into being a logistics officer and look after the logistics of supply chains and equipment.”
With his defence force dream suddenly on hold, Ethan decided to take a gap year.

Ethan Jolley, Air Force Cadets.

Ethan Jolley, Air Force Cadets.


He spent 2018 working full-time as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, and qualified as a personal trainer.
During his gap year he was attracted to a different career path – secondary school teaching.
“Teaching is very different to what I wanted to do with the defence force, but through my involvement with the air force cadets I was doing a lot of teaching and instructing and I really enjoyed that side of things,” he said.
“I was standing in front of 30 cadets and instructing them and giving speeches.”
Ethan also credited his high school history teacher for inspiring him to take up the profession.
Ethan enrolled in a three-year Bachelor of Physical Health and Outdoor Education course at La Trobe University, and planned to follow it with a two-year Master of Teaching degree.
But now there was a new problem to solve – money.
“When I was going through treatment it was a huge effort for my parents,” he said.
“Not only mentally and physically trying to look after me, but financially it was a huge burden and they’re still forking out money every month to pay for my appointments and check-ups.
“It’s an ongoing cost and something that really hit them hard.”
Luckily, there was also a way around that roadblock.
Ethan successfully applied for a $2000 Dare to Dream scholarship offered by cancer charity Redkite in partnership with Coles.
“That scholarship has been so handy because I have used it to buy equipment for uni,” he said.
“I have been able to buy a laptop and all my textbooks and any outdoor ed equipment I need.
“It has taken part of that financial burden away for my parents and it means we can focus on other things.”
Ethan now has options as he sets his sights on the future.
He will finish his bachelor degree in 2021 – about the same time as he is allowed to re-apply for the defence force.
“I have the end goal of getting my degree under my belt and then seeing how I feel about re-applying for the defence force,” he said.
“If at that point I’m really enjoying it, I’ll just continue with my masters in teaching.
“If I want to do something different I’ll apply for the defence force, and if I don’t get in again, then I have a backup and something else to get on with.
“One thing I have learned from having cancer is that you have to have an end goal, but you have to see where life takes you and go with the flow as well.”
Wherever the flow takes Ethan, one thing is certain – no problem will be big enough to stop him getting there.

The entire February 6, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Feb 6 2019

Posted by on Feb 6 2019. Filed under FEATURED, Health & Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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