Kitty’s family’s world turned upside down on Tuesday 21 November 2017

The absolute last thing you expect to hear when you bring your child in for a sore leg is that they have cancer.

Kitty had just performed in two ballet concerts, so her parents, Karen and Daniel  put it down to tiredness and/or possible growing pains. However that Tuesday morning, Kitty woke up and refused to walk. With no visible ailments, the local hospital sent Kitty and her family to a bigger hospital in Mackay. An ultrasound on her stomach revealed a 10cm tumor. The cancer had spread through her bones, down into her leg and up around her shoulders. 

She was four years old.

Amazingly, after her first round of chemo Kitty started to walk again, but it came at the cost of her beautiful, long blonde hair. It was heartbreaking but she handled it so well and totally rocked a bald head.

Treatment far away from home

As Kitty’s treatment was taking place so far away, the family had to make the gut-wrenching decision to send eight-year-old Finnbar back to Proserpine to live with Karen’s parents.

After her second round of chemo, Kitty had her stem cells harvested. She had another line called a vascath put in her neck and was hooked up to a giant machine that harvested her cells before enduring another three rounds of intensive chemo which caused irreversible damage to her hearing.

After her fifth round of chemo, her tumor had reduced so much that she didn’t have to have surgery as expected. She went on to have a bone marrow transplant (BMT) and was isolated in a room for four straight weeks. Kitty was in a world of pain.

“Kitty suffered terribly through BMT with mucositis, it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch and really not to be able to do anything to help her.” – Karen, Kitty’s mum

Once out of BMT, Kitty took a very long time to recover and because she was so unwell, she couldn’t have a second BMT which was the recommended treatment. Still, other treatment was started, with 12 days of radiation followed by four rounds of immunotherapy. She wasn’t able to complete her final round of immunotherapy because her kidney function was too low, which resulted in extremely high blood pressure. She suffered two fractured bones in her leg as her bone density has been weakened due to treatment.

Kitty finally got to go home, as a five-year-old, on December 30, 2018 – 13 months after diagnosis.

 

“We realise that although we’ve been through a great deal, we are one of the lucky ones to have our beautiful daughter here with us.” Karen, Kitty’s mum

Kitty was a Run2Cure Superhero in 2019 and both she and her family participated in the fun run in Sydney’s Domain. She is doing very well post treatment and enjoying school. 

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