We took our 2 year old Matilda 9 times over 3 months to our local rural hospital before finally being referred to a city hospital. Her main symptom was a bad leg but she also suffered fever, vomiting and upset tummy. We were sent home from the rural hospital each time with virus, arthritis and panadol/ibuprofen etc. At one point they plastered her leg even though they couldn’t see a break. We felt incredibly frustrated and were concerned no one really believed us that something was wrong with our little girl.
Within 30 seconds of showing the top pediatrician at the city hospital, Matilda was diagnosed with a spine issue and her head and spine were scanned. They found multiple tumours throughout both scans.
Our precious child who loved to paint, dance, pick strawberries and bounce on the trampoline never came home.
She died after a gruelling round of chemo. The protocol came from St Jude’s to us in Australia and though brought the most horrific side effects, we were grateful for the efforts devoted and the hope it gave.
After Christmas we were told Matilda had 2 days to live. Matilda held on for 19 days, something that baffled the oncology team but didn’t us. Matilda never wanted to leave us and we couldn’t bear the thought of letting her go. She was determined to try and stay. Almost 2 years on and we still cannot believe Matilda is not with us. The devastation childhood cancer causes continues as parents around the world try and fathom life without their child.
The knowledge and understanding of this cancer is as limited as the funding. No child deserves to endure what Matilda did.
Matilda is loved and missed beyond measure. Matilda had a great sense of humour and at 2 years old she used phrases like, ‘The birds are gorgeous, Mama’; She loved Peppa Pig; enjoyed painting, music and dressing up with her big sister and loved playing ‘hide n seek’ with her big brother. She loved snacking on blueberries and eating strawberries as we picked them.
Matilda was our youngest and adored by her two older siblings. Her absence leaves a deafening silence that is heard every minute of each day. Her empty chair remains at the table with a candle that is lit each mealtime.
This tribute was prompted by some beautiful Year 5 and 6 students at our local school who independently raised money over Mother’s Day weekend for ATRT and quietly presented me with it at school. These incredible children decided to do something positive for others and ask me questions about Matilda and cancer that no one else has. Our family were blown away by this. We have much to learn from children.
People do not understand how such little funding is dedicated to childhood cancer, particularly ATRT.
Thank you to those beautiful students in Queensland, Australia for your donation to ATRT cancer research. 🦋