Elise's Christmas story
This time last year Dave and Rebecca knew there was something wrong with their two-year-old daughter. She had been vomiting for a week and had a worrying tilt to her head.
The Waihi couple took Elise to their local hospital where a CT scan revealed a mass in her skull.
Like so many child cancer diagnoses, Elise’s parents were in shock when they were told their daughter had cancer.
Shortly after, their family of four was divided, with Elise's little sister Ayla going to stay with her grandparents while Rebecca and Elise were taken by ambulance to Auckland, and Dave followed in the car.
While other families were getting ready to celebrate the festive season, Dave and Rebecca were preparing their two-year-old for surgery and coming to grips with her diagnosis.
“The realisation of what our baby girl had been through really struck home. She went into surgery a bright, active two-year-old and came out attached to so many tubes, one eye was crossed and the left side of her face was paralysed."Rebecca, Elise's Mum
Within days of Elise’s surgery the brave toddler started physiotherapy to get her moving and eventually walking again. The weeks leading up to Christmas were focused on Elise’s recovery and her family had accepted they could be spending Christmas in hospital. This is the reality for the many children who will be receiving treatment for cancer over Christmas.
Fortunately, the best news came for Elise’s family when, after weeks in hospital, they learnt they could go home and spend Christmas together.
“We knew there was a chance that we would have to stay in over Christmas, so on December 1st I put up a massive tree in Elise’s hospital room. But to find out we could spend time at home together was the best Christmas present.”
While Elise was able to open her presents at home with her loved ones, many children with cancer are far from their family and friends on this special day.
Knowing that Christmas celebrations are often the last thing on worried parents’ minds, our team helps bring the joy of Christmas to these children and their families.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we were able to provide Elise’s family with a special Christmas hamper full of goodies.
“It’s the little things like this that make the work and support of Child Cancer Foundation so important. Their thoughtfulness and understanding is just so amazing.”
Elise and her family have continued to receive one-on-one support from Child Cancer Foundation at the hospital in Auckland and at home in Waihi.
“Child Cancer Foundation is so well set-up to help families during such a rough time. The team is so empathetic and understanding, often knowing what we need before we do. Their continued support is invaluable.”
A year after her diagnosis, Elise and her family are getting ready to celebrate Christmas by taking a much-needed break together at the Child Cancer Foundation holiday home in Taupo.
This Christmas around 25 Kiwi families will learn the heartbreaking news their child has cancer. Please donate and and help us be there to give care and comfort to these families throughout the holiday season and beyond.