Jemma's Story

Jemma's story

There is nothing worse than to feel helpless, knowing there is nothing you can do to save them.

Sam, Jemma's mum Sam, Jemma's mum

Life was pretty normal for the Hill family until Jemma started having headaches. Everyone had been unwell during the school holidays so Jemma’s mum, Sam, didn’t worry too much. One day, Jemma's cheek looked a bit droopy and her eye wasn't shutting properly. Sam knew something wasn't right.

meet Jemma

Meet Jemma

Before diagnosis

Sam took Jemma straight to the doctor and was sent through to the emergency room from there. At first glance, doctors thought Jemma had Bell's Palsy. How wrong were they…

Jemma Before diagnosis

At the hospital

Jemma stayed overnight in the hospital and had a MRI scan done the next morning. After hours of waiting, Sam was finally taken to see the doctor while the nurse would stay and keep Jemma company.

I remember walking into the room and seeing four doctors sitting in front of me. I knew it was serious but I didn't know my world would be crushed then and there.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum


Jemma was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer on her brain stem. Sam was told her daughter only had 9 months to live...

I just couldn't believe what they were saying I just sat there crying my eyes out. Then I started with the questions; what can we do? can she have surgery? and many more.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum


Jemma’s treatment started with two major surgeries. The first one took 9 hours and the second 6 hours. Although those surgeries took their toll on Jemma, straight after she recovered from her second surgery, she started a mix of radiation and chemotherapy treatment to keep the cancer away.

Jemma Treatment

Jemma had a few bad days through this but as usual Jemma got up and got on with it.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum


Then in December 2014 Jemma rang from school and said her eyes were blurry so Sam took her straight to the hospital. A MRI scan was done and showed that the cancer that was down to a pin dot was now growing very fast.

Jemma Relapse

My heart just sank. She was going so well. You wouldn't know she had cancer.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum

Back to hospital

Jemma was booked in for another surgery and this time it went for 6.5 hours but her recovery didn’t pick up as quickly this time. Towards the end of January 2015 Jemma woke up weak on her right side so Sam took her to the hospital again to have a CT scan done. Sadly, the scan showed the cancer had spread to so many places in her brain that nothing could be done.

Jemma Back to hospital

I was numb. I didn't want to believe I was going to lose my beautiful daughter.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum

Jemma's battle

As the days passed Jemma grew a bit weaker every day and couldn't stomach a lot of food. She ate whatever she felt like even if it was ice cream for breakfast. Sadly, On the 17/3/15 at 1:50am Jemma passed away.

Our hearts were ripped out of our chest. We woke the other kids and just laid down and cried with Jemma for hours.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum

A beautiful girl

Jemma was a beautiful, strong, happy, energetic fun loving girl. She was always ready to laugh and play and loved music and dancing. She loved being outside doing cartwheels, riding her bike and climbing trees. Jemma was a strong girl who didn't let anything stop her.

Jemma A beautiful girl

Jemma's cancer made our family pull together. Jemma was an inspiration and lived life to her fullest.

Sam, Jemma's mumSam, Jemma's mum

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