Treatment available locally for kids with cancer
Published at: 27 Sep 2019
PHOEBE WILSON'S LIFE IS DIFFERENT TO THAT OF MOST 12-YEAR-OLDS.
Every week, for the past 14 weeks or so, the brave Shepparton girl receives chemotherapy at GV Health's child and adolescent unit.
Phoebe's dad David Wilson said being able to have the treatment locally meant the family did not need to travel to Melbourne every week.
“We still need to go to Melbourne to get scans and MRIs,” he said.
GV Health child and adolescent associate nurse unit manager Veronica Antonello said having treatment locally meant there was far less of an emotional and physical toll on parents.
“It means less travel, less time away from school and friends,” she said.
David and Phoebe's mum Jennifer Wilson said the local treatment also meant they were not having to spend as much money on accommodation and travel to Melbourne.
“It's always a big day when we go down,” he said.
The treatment takes around 30 minutes each week with Phoebe weighing herself and having her blood pressure taken beforehand.
But David said it did give her “that horrible chemo feeling” and often it was difficult for Phoebe to get out of bed on treatment days.
It took some time for them to figure out exactly how many milligrams of chemotherapy Phoebe needed but David said the process had gotten a little smoother as time went on.
He said they had to be careful around others while Phoebe got the treatment.
“You can't get a bug or anything around her,” he said.
Attending Guthrie St Primary School, Phoebe must also be careful about catching anything off her school mates.
“The school is really good about if she needs to take time off.”
One of the more adverse effects of the chemotherapy was when Phoebe lost her hair; but her mother Jennifer was there to support her.
Shaving off her own hair, Jennifer said her workplace — Goulburn Murray Credit Union — raised funds in support of the children's ward.
The internal World's Greatest Shave fundraiser pulled a huge $825 which was donated to GV Health's children's ward.
Almost halfway through her treatment, David said Phoebe still had more recovery in front of her.
“She's at week 23 of 52 weeks; there will be a minimum of 52 weeks at least,” he explained.
“And then she's got to get two operations on her legs.”
David said the treatment had caused issues with Phoebe's growth and consequently she needed to undergo surgery to lengthen her legs.
The treatment, according to Ms Antonello, would not be possible without the support of the Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation.
“They sponsor our Paediatric Integrated Care Service and without their input we would not be able to provide this service,” she said.
The foundation is a non-for-profit organisation committed to financially supporting mobile home care units that help make life easier for children with cancer and outreach programs for kids with cancer from regional areas.
And Phoebe was especially excited about another program supporting children with cancer this week, attending her first Camp Quality.
Camp Quality gives kids facing cancer the chance to be kids again.
Its services and programs are made specifically to help kids aged 0–13 who are dealing with their own diagnosis, or the diagnosis of someone they love, like a brother, sister, mum or dad.
Camp Quality provides opportunities to laugh, make new friends and have glorious, grubby adventures. And by creating positive memories, Camp Quality helps change the cancer story for kids and their families: in hospital, at home, at school and away from it all.
For more information visit www.campquality.org.au