We were so sad. We couldn’t believe how a tiny child could have this massive brain tumourHAYLEY, JADE’S MUM
Jade had not yet turned three when her life was turned upside down by cancer. After enduring intensive treatment, she has permanent side effects and regular health checks will be needed for the rest of her life. But every day, her family celebrates the fact that she is alive.
In 2013, Jade’s mum Hayley was recovering from breast cancer and life was just starting to look normal again. Suddenly, two-year-old Jade started vomiting daily, became very lethargic and started not wanting to play or leave the house. She had also developed a slight tremor on her right side. After a few weeks in and out of the family doctor’s surgery, Hayley was finally told to go to the hospital’s Emergency Department.
After Jade arrived at the hospital, the doctors decided to keep her in overnight. Hayley remembers: “The next day, Jade had an MRI scan done. I wasn't suspicious until the MRI was over and they rushed over to give me and Mark the results almost immediately.” The news was bad: Jade had a brain cancer called ganglioneuroblastoma.
Disbelief is the only way to describe the feeling. How could this possibly happen to my tiny little two year old?
Two days later, Jade was in Intensive Care waiting to have brain surgery. After a grueling 6-hour operation, she underwent four rounds of chemotherapy before finally being sent home. But after having a seizure she ended up back in hospital, where tests revealed the tumour had not shrunk. Jade spent the next few weeks going in and out of hospital, enduing another four brain surgeries and three more rounds of chemotherapy coupled with a stem cell transplant.
It took Jade over a month to be able to sit up by herself again
During Jade’s fourth surgery, part of her brain was damaged meaning that she had to re-learn most of her development milestones. As well as speech problems, she has permanent weakness on her right side and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2018. Twice a day Jade takes seizure prevention medication; every week she has speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy; and every six months she re-visits hospital for an MRI scan to check her brain and spine.
We don't like to use the word ‘remission’ as you are constantly in fear of the cancer returning
Jade is now in school and loves it, especially playing at lunchtime. She has begun to show progress in her school work and loves to dance and perform, enjoying both Physical Culture and Jazz Ballet. She has also developed a competitive side and will challenge anyone to a running race or game of tips.
When you see the little ones after recovery, getting their personality back… you realise they have lived longer because of research