Story by Alanah Frost, Herald Sun
Images by Alex Coppel, Herald Sun
Soaring through the air jumping on her trampoline is just how Breanna Thomas’ fight for life began one fateful day almost five years ago.
Like most kids, the then three-year-old loved to bounce and jump and play with her siblings and that day in 2015 was no different.
“(Breanna) and her sister had been jumping on the trampoline and they collided,” mum Carolyn Thomas remembers.
“I was watching them, it was such a gentle knock … but Breanna came inside holding her tummy and screaming.
“She was inconsolable.”
The bump was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Ms Thomas and husband Stewart Geerling took Breanna to the doctors, who sent her straight to The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) for an ultrasound. There, doctors delivered the heart-wrenching news: Breanna had a cancerous tumour — known as a Wilms tumour — the size of a small football growing inside her stomach.
“That was pretty confronting,” Ms Thomas says. “It was really hard because we lost another daughter in 2007.”
A day later, Breanna had a port put in her chest and started chemotherapy. She also needed two blood transfusions and a platelets transfusion.
“She had her surgery in March to take out her tumour — it didn’t shrink (from the chemotherapy).
“It was the size of a small football. It took up all of her left-hand side — it was just this tumour.
“She lost a lot of weight — she was probably 18 or 19kg when she first got sick. At her lowest she was 12kg.”
Breanna, who had her last round of chemotherapy in 2015, is now on the mend and has just been cleared to have six-monthly check ups.
And there’s no stopping her. The eight-year-old is the second youngest of seven siblings and is determined to keep up with the bigger kids.
“She does dancing and karate. She’s very bright and switched on. She’s not sickly. She loves the outdoors.
“If she has the option of going outside, playing with the dogs, swimming in the pool, jumping on the trampoline — she will. She’s just a fit and healthy little girl.”