Elijah's family did not get to meet him after birth, as he was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital due to breathing problems and a tumour near his kidney. His Mum, Teaghan and Dad, Cody, explain Elijah's story.

Our beautiful son and little brother to Ryley, Cooper and Xavier, Elijah Phoenix Michael Kirchen was born on 18th November 2021 via C-section. Just hours after being born, he was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne as he had breathing problems and a mass or tumour near his kidney that was affecting his legs. We were told that he possibly had teratoma. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to fly with Elijah as I had a C-section and had to stay another night in the hospital for monitoring. Just first week of his life, Elijah underwent two biopsy surgeries, many blood tests, had drips and lines put in along with several ultrasounds, X-rays, MRI, PET and CT scans under general and more.Teaghan - Elijah’s Mum
He had a team of amazing nurses watching him closely as well as oncologists, neurosurgeons, doctors, surgeons and speech pathologists. We waited for days for the unknown, while being told several confusing things about our boy. On Wednesday, the 23rd of November, at five days old, our precious boy, Elijah was diagnosed with cancer. 

A tumour from his left kidney went down beside his spinal cord and had grown up the nerve endings of his spinal cord paralysing his legs and feet and affecting his bladder control. He had one slightly stronger leg. The oncology team decided to start steroids for our little man to try and shrink the tumour.
We got biopsy results explaining what his cancer was, he had a rare tumour called neuroblastoma and would require chemotherapy and possibly far more treatment to shrink the tumour away from his spinal cord to save his legs and life.
We spent the first month of Elijah's life in hospital and the second month, just after his second round of chemo, in a hotel across from the hospital to monitor him and stay close by in case he needed to be re-admitted. His first round of chemo started on the 23rd of November and he ended up in a High Intensity Care Unit (HICU) for five days, intubated on breathing machines. It was a very scary and horrible time for our boy, who was constantly poked and prodded. Some days were good and some were bad. Chemotherapy was hard and he did three days on and 18 days off twice during that period. We noticed that his legs started to move more and he could wiggle his toes and control his bowels. We hoped and prayed that the treatment worked and after CT, PET and MRI we had amazing news that the tumour had shrunk from 6 cm to 1 cm, and that his legs were normal and we could go home to be watched and monitored with regular check ups.

               

Elijah is now six months old and is still tube fed. He can not take a bottle due to strider and floppy larynx which may need to be corrected. We have many specialist appointments and check ups. The doctors say that he is now immuno-suppressed and has some complex conditions. But, I know well that he is honestly so brave and such a little warrior and hero to so many. I hope sharing his journey can help fundraise and raise awareness about Nueroblastoma and the many kids and families suffering from this devastating cancer.

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