Young Ambassador

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Hero Hunter and the Wonky White Cells

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, understanding what is happening can be very overwhelming, not only for the child but for their family, friends and other children around them. Sarah Stanley has helped to make this discussion a little easier for children by creating the wonderful book titled Hero Hunter and the Wonky White Cells.

Sarah initially created the book for her Godson Hunter, the little superhero who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2016. Hunter was only three years old when he was diagnosed and his intense treatment effected his weight, his ability to walk, feed and go to the toilet.

It soon became apparent that the book might have a wider audience, as it was an easy way for other children and even parents to understand what children with leukaemia go through.

Hero Hunter and the Wonky White Cells explores the science and journey of childhood leukaemia, from diagnosis to treatment. The book uses easy to understand analogies to describe complex concepts, well complimented by Sarah’s illustrations.

As a General Practitioner, Sarah said creating this book was the perfect trinity of her passions of medicine, education and creativity – along with the underlying importance of family. It was important for Sarah to create all aspects of the book, including the illustrations.

“I wanted to demonstrate the medical side to treatment in its realness, so when children see these things in hospital they are prepared and it’s not as scary.” She said.

“I hope it can help young children to better understand leukaemia. It has already done the number one job, which was to help Hunter.” Said Sarah.

Hunter recently became the first child to ring the treatment bell at the Perth Children’s Hospital to celebrate 100 days since his life-saving bone marrow transplant.

If you are interested in buying a copy of Hero Hunter and the Wonky White Cells, simply head to their Facebook page, where you can make a secure purchase through PayPal. The book costs $20 plus postage, with all profits going to charity, including CLCRF.

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Marley 9 Years On

On this day 9 years ago, single mother Kerrin Hampson received the heartbreaking news that her 15-month-old son Marley had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. The news came after Kerrin had enough of doctors telling her that there was nothing wrong with her son, that his lethargy and loss of appetite was caused by a virus that he would just have to ride out.

Kerrin’s mothers’ instinct led her to take Marley to the hospital despite what the doctors had told her.

“I remember it like it was yesterday.” Says Kerrin. “I fed myself, Morris and his sister, made sure they were cared for and then drove to Fremantle ED. The nurse looked at Marley and called the on-call paediatrician straight away. He was quite concerned”

After his diagnosis on 1 July 2010, Marley was taken directly to the children’s hospital by ambulance, being too fragile for Kerrin to drive him herself. The next three years saw Marley undergo intense therapies which left him tired and ill.

His treatment finished in August 2013 but he is still dealing with the side effects to this day. The harsh treatment has left Marley with cognitive and executive functioning issues, needing the help of tutors and occupational therapy.

“9 years later he had a weekend of adventure and friends. He has scars that run deeper than I thought possible, and still struggles but he is here.” Says a grateful Kerrin. “We are lucky. I will band on until the end of time to raise awareness and funding to help kids and their families with support and research.”

Marley continues to be an ambassador for CLCRF and has attended several functions over the years with his mum and brother to help raise awareness for cancer research.

More research is still needed for better outcomes for children with cancer. By donating to CLCRF, you can help us to not only increase the chances of survival, but also fund research into more effective protocols for drug treatment therapy.

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Jackson’s Story

Jackson is one of over 600 Australian children who are diagnosed with cancer every year. Just like many of these children, Jackson has spent the majority of his short life in hospital fighting the horrible disease.

Jackson’s Story begins with a suspected stomach bug when he was just 7 months old. Two different GPs brushed it off as a virus but Jackson’s mum Michelle remained concerned when his stomach seemed swollen and the vomiting and diarrhoea continued. After the second GP visit, Jackson vomited all over the floor at Woolworths and his eyes started to roll to the back of his head. A nearby midwife told Michelle to take Jackson to the hospital immediately.

“I kept saying Jackson, Jackson to try and get him to respond but he wasn’t really responding.” Says Michelle. “I just started panicking and panicking more now that a nurse had seen him and was worried enough to tell me to go to hospital.”

Michelle took Jackson to Bunbury Hospital and after being concerned about dark bruises on the top of his forehead, he was sent to a CT scan. A paediatrician then examined Jackson and Michele asked if she should be calling her husband Marc, who was working away, to come home.

“I remember the doctor looking up at me and the look on his face said everything. Without seeing the blood results, he was 99% sure that Jackson had leukaemia.”

They went straight to the Emergency Department at Perth’s Children’s Hospital where Jackson was diagnosed with both Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Since his diagnosis Jackson has experienced many setbacks on his treatment journey, including a staph infection, a murmur in his heart and a relapse of AML in his right testis. He has undergone intense high dose chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and radiation therapy.

Jackson and his family still have a tough road ahead of them to beat this horrible disease. The family currently have to wait another three months to see if Jackson’s bone marrow transplant was successful, in the hope that he might be in complete remission.

To ensure CLCRF can continue to fund life-changing research to offer hope to families like Jackson’s, we need your help. By making a tax-deductible donation before June 30, you will be helping to make a huge difference.

Read more about Jackson’s story and donate today

 

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Hunter Reaches a Milestone on his Road to Recovery

We received some great news this week with six-year-old Hunter reaching a special milestone in his cancer treatment and being the first to ring Perth Children’s Hospital’s new treatment bell.

Friday 3 May marked 100 days since Hunter’s life-saving bone marrow transplant. On the very same day, the oncology ward at Perth’s Children’s Hospital unveiled its first ever treatment bell.

“The bell is a symbol that’s rung at the end of treatment to recognise everything that the child and the family has gone through in their cancer journey.” Says Dr Annie Ryan, Paediatric Oncologist.

The first 100 days after a bone marrow transplant are said to be the most critical and although Hunter is not in the clear yet, the end of his tough road to recovery is now in sight. This was excellent news for Hunter’s family who were devastated last September when Hunter relapsed after almost two years of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Hunter celebrated this big achievement with a limo ride and a swim in his friend’s pool. This is the first time Hunter has been healthy enough to swim since his diagnosis at the age of three.

By helping fund the important research into childhood cancer by CLCRF, more children like Hunter can reach milestones in their cancer treatment journeys. If you would like to make a donation to the Foundation, head to our donate page.