As we enter Christmas, we look forward to the weather, family get-togethers and the amazing food prepared lovingly by those in our lives. For some, it’s hospitals, illness and operations that would scare anybody; including a young child who has just been told they have a form of childhood cancer.
This Christmas we would like to introduce to you Kerrin Hampson, a single mother of two young boys. Marley, her youngest son, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at only 15 months old. Today Marley is 9 and living a life that most thought he wouldn’t.
When Marley proudly represents the Scouts, or volunteers on the ward with other kids going through cancer, I understand where his desire to help and his empathy comes from. I am in awe of his determination.
“I look at Marley playing footy and am joyous that he won’t dislodge his port when he tackles the opposition. I look at Marley’s ribbons of participation for school athletics meets. I couldn’t care less if they are 1st place, because in my eyes, he’s already won.”
You can give hope to other children like Marley, by donating to help fund child cancer research today.
Marley was sick for a while before getting a diagnosis. We were in an out of GPs, Chiropractors, PMH emergency and finally Fremantle ED. He’d stopped walking, was in pain, listless, wasn’t eating and had fevers. The last straw was coming home to find that he hadn’t moved or eaten all day. He wanted to be held by my dad, his skin was pale; he was listless.
That night I went to the emergency department. Blood tests were taken, I could hear him crying from down the hall… The results came back with Leukaemia, and we were taken to the children’s hospital by ambulance. Marley was too fragile for me to drive him myself.
“It’s hard to describe the physical feeling of being told your child has cancer and that we had ‘just made it’; he was dying.”
He was a very sick little boy on admission, we were immediately surrounded by doctors and nurses, numerous tests were done. With more than one virus, plus the cancer ravaging his body. He was so lethargic they were able to place his cannula in without struggle.
He was diagnosed with Pre B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia – standard risk. He was 15 months old. His treatment was very intense and came in phases for over 3 years. These phases included chemotherapy, blood tests, lumbar punctures (with chemo into the spinal fluid), general anaesthetic, port accesses, a nasogastric tube, Morphine, anti-viral medicines… it was ongoing and relentless.
Towards the end of treatment, he was an inpatient more often as his little body wasn’t fighting the way it was supposed to. Three years is an incredibly long time to take chemo, with Marley enduring Nasal Gastric tubes, a week of morphine with additional pain killers and antivirals that continued until the completion of treatment and respiratory problems.
Thousands of children have to go through years of chemotherapy. Help us continue our ground-breaking research so that future generations can live cancer free.
Cancer and its current treatments, don’t come without complications. During treatment Marley developed blood sugar issues, a lasting cough from bacteria in his lungs and has neuro cognitive issues that can be attributed to the intrathecal chemo.
Marley however, is one of the ‘lucky’ ones. He is 9 now and finished treatment in August 2013.
“I dream of a cure or even a treatment that is side effect free. Not something that ravages the bodies of children. Marley’s journey has been long, but with courage and hope and the support of research and dedicated doctors and scientists, he’s come out the other side with so much strength and empathy.”
Childhood cancer is a lifetime diagnosis. Current treatments may save some lives, but cause long term damage. More research is needed for better outcomes for our children. By donating to CLCRF this Christmas, you will be instrumental in helping us to not only increase their chances of survival, but also fund research into more effective protocols for drug treatment therapy.
CLCRF has a commitment to ensure this ground-breaking research continues so that the future generations will be the ones to live cancer free. The Foundation relies on the generous support of the community to continue its vital research, as we do not receive State or Federal funding.
Kerrin Hampson (Marley’s Mum)
P.S. Time is running out for these children. Your gift, now, will mean that more children are saved from cancer and can live better lives. We cannot do this without you.
Merry Christmas and a safe Happy New Year from all at the Foundation. If you have recently donated, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.