At just seven years old, The Bachelorette Australia contestant Apollo Jackson was forced to grow up incredibly quickly when he came home to horrific news – his mother, Sue, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would go on to receive a double mastectomy.
“She was in and out of hospital,” the Bachelorette favourite tells TV WEEK of the terrifying years his mum battled the disease.
“Obviously being young, you don’t know much about cancer but when you hear that word – cancer – you know it’s not a good thing. It was a tough time.”
With his close-knit extended family all stepping in to help out, the young aspiring magician did his best to bring levity to the visits to his mum’s bedside, unveiling his latest tricks for the first time in front of her.
“I was trying my best to make her laugh and smile all the time,” he says. “It was really inspiring to see how strong she was going through it all.”
Fortunately, Sue is now in remission and Apollo still remembers the day clearly when she received the good news. “I just remember there was a lot of crying,” he says. “She was sitting on the bed sobbing. And then once it was all over she wanted to get straight back to work.”
And Sue is still inspiring her son with her latest endeavours. Having set up Horses Helping Humans – a charity which utilises horse whisperer techniques to aid troubled and disadvantaged youths – she works 15-hour days to help others.
And that’s when she’s not spending time supporting her own family.
Sadly, Sue’s mum also battled the same disease recently. But, just like her daughter, she has come through the other side.
“She’s 94,” says Apollo. “We had a cousin’s 21st birthday party last week, it was Star Wars-themed, and Grandma was there was dressed as Yoda. She’s a legend.”