Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Rolando Mondala fears brain tumour will cost him everything

The future of Rolando Mondala and his family from left, baby Zane Roland, wife Agnes, and daughter Zaira, 5, is uncertain now he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Photo / Kirsty Wynn.
The future of Rolando Mondala and his family from left, baby Zane Roland, wife Agnes, and daughter Zaira, 5, is uncertain now he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Photo / Kirsty Wynn.

Rolando Mondala's life was perfect.

The Filipino man had just become a New Zealand citizen, won a ballot to buy an affordable house in Auckland for his young family, and landed his dream job as an anaesthetic technician at Auckland City Hospital.

Then in August he was admitted to hospital with a headache, dizziness and vomiting.

Doctors suspected meningitis but eventually diagnosed benign positional vertigo, sending Mondala home with medication to stop the nausea and numb the pain.

A few weeks later in mid-September the debilitating motion sickness and headache returned and the 38-year-old was rushed back to hospital.

There doctors fast tracked a CT scan of his head which showed up a brain tumour in the right cerebellum - the part of the brain responsible for movement, balance and co-ordination.

"So that was a big blow," Mondala said. "The first thing I thought of was my family. I've got two kids and a wife who works part-time and I'm the breadwinner."

It came less than a year after Mondala underwent surgery on his jaw to remove a large benign tumour.

At the time Mondala was a student and had just opted out of his health and income protection insurance to save money, a position the family remains in now.

Mondala said he and his wife Agnes, 37, sat in stunned silence at the news.

The couple, who rent a two-bedroom house in Royal Oak for $450 per week, and have a daughter, Zaira, 5 and a son, Zane Roland, aged one, are now worried they will lose the house they won in a ballot last November.

The Mondalas were picked out of 150 hopefuls who qualified for the Special Housing Area draw in New Lynn, West Auckland.

Through KiwiSaver and the HomeStart Grant they have already paid the 10 per cent deposit on the $461,250 fixed price house, with settlement due next July.

But if the brain tumour is malignant, which Mondala expects to find out on Monday from a biopsy taken during a five-hour surgery to remove the tumour last week, it could mean months of chemotherapy treatment and time off work.

"It's just really unfair," Mondala said through tears. "But I'm determined to fight this battle, for my family.

"I'm happy to treat the patients but I don't want to be a patient. I'm so worried."

Mondala was touched by the generosity and kindness of friends and colleagues who set up a Givealittle page to help ease the financial stress while he recovers.

So far the page had raised more than $3800. To help Mondala and his family visit https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/rolando

- NZ Herald

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