“I thought there was nothing that could be done to save my baby when we found out Willow had stage four cancer. That was until we met oncologist, Molly Williams and her amazing care team who became like our family.”
After taking four year old Willow for multiple doctor’s appointments, x-rays and tests, her mother Kirsty knew something really wasn’t right. So, she brought Willow into the emergency department at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) for further testing. It was there, in September 2021, that Willow was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Since that day, Willow and Kirsty have spent over 400 nights at the RCH receiving world –renowned treatment with a specialised and individualised care plan. And last month, the shock of that initial diagnosis was replaced with joy when Willow was declared cancer free.
“Thanks to the oncology staff, nurses, and wider support systems at the RCH, we had such a strong support network and had a home away from home,” said Kirsty.
Willow’s favourite moments while receiving treatment on the Kookaburra Ward were music therapy and kindergarten sessions, both of which are programs supported by philanthropy. She also loved visits from the clown doctors when she needed some cheering up.
On 10 August 2023, surrounded by friends, family and the doctors and nurses who cared for her, Willow returned to ring the bell at the doors of Kookaburra, signifying that she is now cancer free.
Despite still needing to overcome some challenges, Kirsty is most excited about Willow having a ‘normal’ life.
Now that Willow’s back home, she’s attending kindergarten, playing with her brothers Bailey and Harry helping her mother cook dinner – all special moments that she’s missed out on to date.
The family has booked a holiday in September for the first time in three years, which everyone is very excited about.
Kirsty’s advice to anyone going through something similar is, “Take it day by day. Don’t think too far ahead and ask for help, which for me was the hardest part, but those who love you will rally around you.”
The RCH will forever hold a special place in the life of Willow and her family. Without the world class clinical care and supportive programs available to patients, Willow would not be where she is today.
“To those who support the RCH Foundation or anyone that can, from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you so much. The RCH is what it is thanks to you,” shared Kirsty.