Violet’s story

After months of feeling unwell, unexplained aches and pains, as well as weight loss, Violet, aged six at the time, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma in November 2015.

Doctors found a fist-sized tumour on Violet’s adrenal gland above her left kidney and additional spots throughout the bones in her little body.  She immediately began intense chemotherapy which made her incredibly ill.

Violet endured six cycles of chemotherapy, a nine-hour surgery to remove the main tumour and her left kidney, a bone marrow transplant, radiation to her abdomen, legs and spine, and six months of immunotherapy.  This required Violet to spend many nights in hospital and strong pain medication with numerous days attached to an IV pole, unable to leave her room. 

Violet’s mum, Colleen said “The highlight of her day was when the music therapist arrived, and her infectious laughter could be heard down the halls.” 

She loved to make the nurses sing, dance and rap to her tunes. In between the music therapy visits, the bedside play volunteers helped her pass the hours playing games and doing craft while also allowing her parents a much-needed break. 

After 15 months of treatment, Violet was given the all-clear. Then, just 10 months later during her routine six-weekly tests, a new tumour was found in the back of her jaw.  Again, Violet started treatment and endured 19 cycles of chemotherapy and another 20 fractions of radiation, but unfortunately further tests showed the chemotherapy was no longer effective in keeping the cancer at bay.  Violet began a new treatment of radionuclide therapy in the hope it would eradicate the cancer once and for all, but it was not to be and sadly Violet went on to have three further relapses, and her treatment continues. 

Colleen said “Relapse, subsequent cancers and other side effects are a real threat for someone like Violet, who has had such a large amount of treatment. But for now, we’re taking each day as it comes and making every moment count.  We were delighted to watch a very excited Violet return to school for her last year of primary school.” 

She added “Cancer may have stolen a good chunk of Violet’s childhood, but it has not taken her spirit. In truth, this journey has only served to help mould and shape her into the amazing little human that she is today.”  

Story written and details correct May 2021

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