William Wheeler, Bundaberg

Diagnosis: Neuroblastoma
Age: 11 months old

“I remember the doctor coming in and saying we didn’t have much time and that William probably wasn’t going to pull through.”

It is indescribable because no parent ever thinks that their kid has cancer, especially a baby. I didn’t even know it was possible. It’s still something when I think about those early days, it still brings tears to my eyes because it’s something you never imagine ever happening.

We were enjoying Christmas as a family, celebrating the milestones in each of our kids’ lives. Our eldest had graduated from kindergarten and was starting prep, and William was starting to take his first steps. Life was beautiful. Everything was great; everything was normal.

It was the middle of summer when things started to change. William was sweating a lot through the night and his fevers were high. We didn’t think much of it until he started wheezing and was struggling to breathe. Like any concerned parent, we immediately took William to the hospital. Initially, William was given Ventolin and his breathing issues were thought to be asthma and later a chest infection. It wasn’t until a side profile x-ray that we saw how big the mass was in his chest that was obstructing his breathing.

Within two weeks, our world had turned upside down.

“There is something wrong with your child,” we were told. William was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

It started in his chest but then spread throughout his entire torso and into his bone marrow. It was so unexpected we didn’t know how to believe it, but time didn’t allow for us to comprehend. Within twelve hours of finding out, we flew to Brisbane so that our baby could receive treatment.

When we arrived in Brisbane, we were surprised by the kindness and hospitality of Childhood Cancer Support. They were so kind and embraced us as a family. It felt more like being supported by an extended family than an organization.

The 4.5 hour train trips from Bundaberg to Brisbane can be really draining especially when the trips are unfruitful.

A few times we’ve travelled to Brisbane only to find that William’s blood levels weren’t right for him to receive chemotherapy and you have to go home and try again the next week. Knowing that Childhood Cancer Support are there to provide short term accommodation and transport pickups alleviates some of the stress and burden.

Six operations later, William is now up to his sixth round of chemotherapy and is recovering like a champion. responding well to the treatment. It’s still a long journey ahead for William and your support can make a difference for this special family.

Lauren has been touched by all the messages of support so please show this lovely family that you care and send a hug and make a donation.