People are singing, bells are ringing, presents are overflowing — Christmas cheer is spreading, writes Katie Clift from the Queensland Cancer Council.
If you’re like me, you’ll admit to getting caught up in all the feasting, fun and frivolity that December inevitably brings – but I really do think there’s far more to this month than over-indulging on one too many candy canes…
I’m asking you to consider the Christmas spirit this year, and to remember all those in our community that have been impacted by cancer, and may need a kind word, a helping hand, an arm of support or simply a hug to remind them that someone truly cares.
This month, I’m thinking about children like little Jack Norman, who is only seven years old, but has been hit by cancer not once, not twice, but three times.
Jack was only four years old when doctors found his first brain tumour. He collapsed while at the shops with his dad, was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer.
The tumour was successfully removed, but during surgery little Jack suffered a stroke.
His tiny body endured aggressive treatment to try and stop the tumour from coming back – 30 sessions of radiotherapy in all.
A few months later, just before Christmas, his parents received a phone call from Jack’s oncologist, with the devastating news that his tumour had come back. He spent Christmas in the hospital undergoing more brain surgery.
After more radiotherapy, he appeared to be recovering well, but the tumour came back for a third time in May – with Jack bravely going in for his third round of brain surgery.
Now, the Norman family are unsure whether the tumour will come back a fourth time.
I think of families like the Normans this Christmas, because I truly believe we’re able to give hope where support is vitally needed.
Almost 25,000 Queenslanders have been diagnosed with cancer this year alone, and about 8000 have died from the disease. One in two Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
This Christmas is our opportunity to reach out to our community in need – to the people around us, like little Jack Norman, who have been impacted by cancer.
I’m asking all of us to consider digging deep this holiday season, and to give. We’re inviting Queenslanders to take part in Cancer Council Queensland’s Christmas Appeal, to specifically help children like Jack Norman by investing in world-class, lifesaving research.
Every year, we invest about $14 million in cancer research in Queensland. Even a small donation can help us fund more research projects in 2015, giving hope to families living with cancer like Jack’s.
Visit cancerqld.org.au to get involved, and amidst the present wrapping, stocking hanging and pudding munching this season — take the time to show your support to those around you who very vitally need it.
It will make an incredible difference this Christmas.