By Simone Clements 

A few weeks after the twins fifth birthday, Hayden began to complain that he couldn’t use his left arm whilst dressing. We had noticed in the weeks prior he had been a bit clumsy but we never thought it was serious.

As we raced him into the Royal Children’s hospital we began discussing the worst case scenarios and preparing ourselves for what was to come. Upon arriving at the hospital ED he was rushed into a CT scan revealing a 4.2cm tumour in his brain stem.

I remember feeling devastated, sick and barely able to breathe. I tried to be brave and hold it together in front of Hayden but eventually I was overcome with grief and shock and I had to leave the room. I remember sobbing on the emergency department floor.

You don’t think in your wildest dreams that a diagnosis like this is ever going to happen to your child or someone you love.

Nothing could take away my pain but I pulled myself together and realised that I had to do whatever it took to get our son through this journey. That became our family mantra, “Whatever it takes…”

I went in to survival mode and focused on keeping Hayden alive attending to every need, every pain, every cry.

Hayden is now nine-years-old and is looking forward to raising money for Camp Quality’s Camp In on Saturday 4 July.

Today I am so very proud of our family and the resilience we have shown bravely fighting this beast we call cancer. We took our inspiration from Hayden, he is a hero, a little champion. He endured approximately 36 rounds of chemo, lost all mobility on his left side, put up with painful procedures, surgeries, MRI’s, x-rays, ultrasounds, examinations, countless blood tests, in and out of hospital for years, powered through his rehab sessions even when he felt like giving up or it was too hard, he just smiled and got on with it impressing everyone with his attitude and charm.

Isolating long term has been difficult. We have grown accustomed to practising social distancing and are vigilant with personal hygiene to protect Hayden.

Camp in for Camp Quality is an ideal ‘at home’ activity with an important cause: to change the cancer story for kids and their families.

One of our biggest fears is the risk of infection. Virus’ pose a threat to a child whose immune system is already compromised due to cancer treatment, so corona virus has elevated the stress for us and all childhood cancer patients and their families.

COVID19 has taught people about the importance of social distancing and good hygiene to keep everyone safe. The community now has a deeper understanding of the fears oncology families face and what they go through on a daily basis and many for years.

Camp Quality is such an incredible charity that offers families respite from cancer. Its purpose is to allow kids facing childhood cancer a chance to be kids again and we can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for our family. Camp Quality has been there in countless ways for us.

They have provided our family with relief, comedy and activities to take our minds off Hayden’s struggles. We have had the opportunity to meet and connect with other inspirational families doing it tough.

I am urging Australian families to join Camp Quality’s Camp In on July 4th and raise much needed funds for kids facing cancer because we need you, we cannot get through this journey alone.

Registrations are now open for the first-ever ‘Camp Quality’s Camp In’ on Saturday 4 July, an ideal ‘at home’ activity with an important cause: to change the cancer story for kids and their families.

Funds raised will help Camp Quality support kids and their families facing cancer with services and programs in hospital, at school, at home and away from it all such as Kids’ Camps, Family Camps and Family Fun Days.

Click here to register for Camp in for Camp Quality.