Seth's Story

Seth's story

If you're not smiling - why not? Because Seth is.

Simon, Seth's dad Simon, Seth's dad

On Mother's Day 2012, Nikki and Simon noticed their five-year-old son Seth had a larger than normal tummy and a rash that was causing bruises. They took him straight to the GP, who conducted a blood test. By that evening, Seth was in emergency at the local hospital.

meet Seth

Meet Seth

Blood test

Seth's GP conducted a blood test and told Nikki and Simon to come back at 10am the following day for the results. But before it reached 7pm, she called Simon and told him to take Seth straight to emergency at the local hospital.

Seth Blood test

They wheeled Seth in to a place called 'Children's Cancer Centre'. I thought, why is it called that? Why are they using the word cancer?

Simon, Seth's dadSimon, Seth's dad


Seth was diagnosed with a type of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that affects white blood cells known as T-cells. T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is aggressive and progresses very quickly, so chemotherapy started the same day.

Seth Diagnosis

Each year, around 150 Australian children and almost as many adults are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), which is the most common childhood cancer. Around 15% will have an aggressive subtype known as T-cell ALL, that is generally less responsive to therapy and more likely to relapse.


Seth underwent aggressive treatment - daily chemotherapy, radiation, painful lumbar punctures and blood transfusions. The intense steroids caused him to gain weight and affected his fine motor skills - he had trouble breathing and moving.

Seth Treatment

It was the injections in the legs and the blood transfusions I struggled with the most. I couldn't watch.

Nikki, Seth's mumNikki, Seth's mum

Getting into sports

Seth started Kung Fu in 2013 which dramatically improved his motor skills. He loves cricket, Lego, his BMX and watching basketball - and the third-grader receives glowing reports from his school teachers.

Seth Getting into sports

He wakes up every morning nauseous, the chemo makes him sick but you'd never know he's unwell; by the time he gets to school you'd never know he was a sick boy to look at him.

Nikki, Seth's mumNikki, Seth's mum


Eight-year-old Seth finished his maintenance treatment in October 2015. He still has a 60% chance of relapse - a figure that Simon & Nikki will never forget.

Seth Remission

Researchers in our Leukaemia Biology team are undertaking rigorous testing of drugs and combinations for their effectiveness against T-cell ALL, with the goal of opening a clinical trial for children.

We can't forward plan. Things can come up at the drop of a hat.

Simon, Seth's dadSimon, Seth's dad

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