After giving birth to her baby daughter Jade, Aussie mum Hayley Reeves found herself in a gruelling battle with breast cancer for the most part of 2013, only little did she know, that wasn’t going to be the toughest thing she would have to go through.
Just 18 months after finding out she was in remission – a period where things were starting to look up again – her 2-year-old daughter took a turn for the worse.
Jade became completely lethargic, vomiting morning and night, and generally unwell before developing a slight tremor on her right side.
After numerous tests with the GP, the family were sent to the emergency department for an MRI which picked up the problem immediately. Jade had a brain tumour and was officially diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastomas that afternoon.
“It was completely heartbreaking,” Hayley said of the news.
“It was a Friday afternoon and they were to operate on Monday but it was horrendous, they knew so little about her tumour and it was so big that it was really unsettling to think your little baby was about to go through something horrible.”
“It was easier having it myself than watching my [then] three-year-old go through it.”
Her first surgery was followed by three others within the space of a month along with rounds of chemotherapy in between and a stem cell transplant – it was a lot to go through for someone her age.
In the initial weeks, Jade was complelty unsettled, scared and reliant on her parent’s company yet as weeks turned into months, the hospital became her new normal.
“We were in there for weeks on end… it just became your second home,” Hayley told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Jade was to have one last surgery to remove what was left of her tumour however the treatment wasn’t without its complications.
Along with what Hayley now considers, “The smaller side-effects like kidney and liver issues,” Jade also lost part of her speech, resulting in receptive and expressive speech delays along with later developing Cerebral Palsy due to damage during the brain surgeries.
However, now six-years-old and in year one at school, Jade has come a significantly long way and continues to remain tumour-free.
“She is very outgoing, very quick-witted, she loves dancing, she loves running and swimming, she has turned into just a normal bubbly six-year-old,” Hayley said.
After being hit with cancer twice-over, the family are continually making efforts to push for a cure, with Jade most recently being an ambassador for the Build for a Cure project that aims to raise money for life-saving childhood cancer research with the build and auction of a new home.
The project began on August 27th which saw the new house built in just 21 days with both the land and build being donated by McCloy group and McDonald Jones Homes along with a few other partners donating materials.
And this weekend we’re set to see the results of the project with the auction of the house, located in The Bower, Medowie, taking place on Sunday 21st October where all proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Institute.
“It’s not until you get to the ward that you find out there are so many other little children down there, you’re just completely unaware about the number of children affected by childhood cancer,” Hayley said, highlighting just how important it is to fund more medical research.