Donate Christmas Appeal 2019 - for vital research You can help Help bring us closer to a world where all children who are diagnosed with the children's cancer neuroblastoma have the chance to grow up, free from the side effects of their treatments. Special occasions, like Christmas, can be a challenging time of year for any family, particularly so for those of us facing a disease like cancer. Take a moment to get to know some of our families who have shared their stories below. Thank you to Sienna, Bella and Maddie's families for sharing their stories. Sienna's Story Special days like Christmas bring back lots of memories for me – some lovely and some painful. It was just before Christmas when we were told that our little girl Sienna was in remission. We thought this was a new beginning for us. Very sadly, only one Christmas later, we were given the news that Sienna was not going to make it. I remember to this day, having to go Christmas shopping for my little girl; knowing I would be buying toys which might never get used. Such heartbreak is always with a parent who has lost a child. Children, like Sienna, should have a whole life in front of them but due to an under-researched disease some will never get the chance to grow up. Sienna’s life and death have made me passionate about raising awareness of neuroblastoma and to do everything I can to make sure more research is done - as without research treatments simply are not going to improve. Children deserve so much more. Your generous donations help us fund vital research to develop better, safer and kinder treatments for children diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Please help us ensure that all children diagnosed with neuroblastoma get the chance to grow up. Sienna’s story is not unique and is quite typical, please do read about other families affected by neuroblastoma below. You can make a difference to so many children and their families - please make a donation today or even set up a regular gift to help us continue to fund vital research. Thank you, Lucy President Neuroblastoma Australia Bella's Story In the month before Bella was diagnosed in 2011 she started to lose weight, and various other symptoms started to make her very unwell. It was ultimately an abdominal ultrasound that found she had a large mass in her abdomen. The memory of that first night is still a blur of doctors and nurses introducing themselves and asking many questions. The fear that began that night is still etched in my mind. I remember feeling that it just couldn’t be. Our baby girl couldn’t have cancer. She was just a baby. Bella was admitted to hospital that night and they didn’t leave for over four months. She is now nine, thankfully doing well and remains the inspiration behind Sarah’s huge involvement with Run2Cure and Neuroblastoma Australia. Maddie's Story Monique noticed two year old Maddie was starting to withdraw more and more from her usual activities and becoming very clingy, which doctors initially put down to a virus and the usual boundary-pushing of her age group. About a week and more doctors’ visits later Maddie ended up in the ER. It was a radiographer who discovered a tumour behind Maddie’s abdomen - wrapped around various organs, including her liver and kidney, and attached to her aorta, very close to her spine. It was described to the family as being like one large mass of tentacles squeezing its way into all the spaces between her organs. It was also showing up in Maddie’s bone marrow in her hip and shoulders. A gruelling journey of treatment followed. Madison was in hospital for 105 out of the next 120 days. She then had stem cell harvesting in preparation for further chemotherapy treatment, which would follow surgery to remove the tumour. 18 red blood transfusions and the use of other blood products, which Monique equated with 68 donors. We have experienced too many complications and setbacks with Maddie’s treatment to mention here and after all of this we are left with no promises that the disease won’t return, but we will continue to monitor her closely and take things one day at a time. Monique, Maddie's mum Maddie is now five years old and doing very well. This Christmas Please help us fund vital research to develop better, safer and kinder treatments and ultimately a cure for children like Maddie, Sienna and Bella who are diagnosed with neuroblastoma.