Harry’s story

Following viral type symptoms, Harry’s mum took him to the doctor and within days he had been admitted to hospital and started on chemotherapy.

Harry is 13 years old, in grade eight at school, loves riding his bike, gaming, playing guitar and anything to do with film and editing, pretty standard stuff for a young boy.  However, Harry’s journey to get to this point has been far from standard.  Diagnosed with philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was 9, Harry has faced a tough four-year battle to get his life to where it is today.

Following viral type symptoms, Harry’s mum took him to the doctor and within days he had been admitted to hospital and started on chemotherapy.

“We were devastated. I really couldn’t believe it was happening or that we were in this situation. I felt total loss of control and helplessness that I couldn’t fix or change this awful situation.” Natasha, Harry’s mum said.

The demands of treatment meant Harry and Natasha had to move from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, leaving Harry’s dad Paul and sister Holly at home.  Harry spent eight months out of two years of treatment as an inpatient and being away from friends and family for so long made everything even more difficult.

Harry missed all of grade five and six of school and faced two life threatening infections on two separate occasions when he got pneumonia and an appendicitis.

“It’s a long time to be away from family.  However, as the weeks go by, the strength to cope comes and you find a way to soldier on and fight this. There is no other option.  We nearly lost him during the appendicitis/gut infection. A night I will never forget ever.” said Natasha

On top of his treatment Harry had around 15 lumbar punctures, five bone marrow biopsies, three surgeries and a bronchoscopy which meant 15 to 20 procedures done under anaesthesia.  He also had to be hospitalised for rehabilitation to learn to walk again after not being able to for 12 months.

Harry took all is treatments and procedures like a warrior and spending a lot of time in hospital meant he got to enjoy many of the Foundation’s services.

“Harry loved taking part in Juiced TV, music therapy and meeting all the volunteers.  He was always excited to attend the amazing events put on for patients and their families.  It was great because Holly could go with Harry and they could be together like siblings should be” said Natasha.

Harry finished his two-year chemotherapy regime in February 2019. He now attends the oncology clinic every four to six weeks for review and blood tests to ensure that the leukaemia has not returned. This will be ongoing for years to come. Harry also attends physio regularly for his walking and sees the dietician every month for monitoring due to weight loss and being unable to tolerate too much food.

In November 2019, Harry was a Foundation Ambassador for Nova’s Bids to Help Sick kids and got to hang out with Radio legends Ash, Kip, Luttsy and Susie O’Neill as part of the Nine Telethon.

Despite everything he has been through, Harry is a happy, friendly, caring and all round amazing young man.  He’s produced some fantastic pieces of film using self-taught editing skills and got accepted into the music excellence program at his school.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Harry!

Story written and details correct September 2020.