Jamie's cuddly companions

Jamie's cuddly companions

Young Jamie's furry friends have been an important source of support throughout treatment for cancer.

Jamie is a young man who loves life, especially when it’s full of teddy bears. His cuddly companions are an important source of support, having been gifted by generous donors to The Kids’ Cancer Project’s Bear Program, providing teddies to children undergoing cancer treatment.

When Jamie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in 2019, his world changed drastically. His Mum, Nicky, says Jamie was a very normal two-year-old kid living on a small 40-acre farm at Marradong near Boddington in Western Australia. 

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“Jamie enjoyed running around on the farm with the horses and cows, feeding the chickens and collecting their eggs every day, plus bottle feeding his little lamb Coco.

He loved playing in the sandpit with his digger and trucks. Life was free-flowing, with his Nanny, Poppy and Aunty living on the farm across the road,” says Nicky.

A life-changing diagnosis

When Jamie started to experience high temperatures, a loss of appetite and a sore tummy, Nicky and her husband Les took him to the doctor. They received crushing news.

“Finding out your child has cancer is one of the hardest things any parent will ever hear,” says Nicky. “Life changes in that moment. You drop everything and become 100 percent focused on your child and knowing what the “fix” is to make them get rid of this horrible disease that’s trying to kill them.”

In September 2019, Nicky and Jamie headed to the city so the toddler could start treatment at Perth Children's Hospital. Along with the financial stress of relocating, was the toll of watching the little boy go through countless tough medical procedures.

“Holding your child down screaming and looking at you to rescue them from agony is so heart-breaking, I can’t begin to describe it. Jamie has had a multitude of general anaesthetics weekly for his treatment including lumbar punctures, bone marrow trephines, bone marrow aspirates, MRI, EEG, ECG, as well as chemotherapy drugs.”

With the support of the nursing staff and doctors at the hospital, Nicky says they were able to learn to adjust to their circumstances.

“The nursing staff are like part of our family now, they're very, very switched on and offer a shoulder to cry on. There's always somebody to talk to when you just want to scream. They're also good at explaining what the oncologist and specialists tell us,” says Nicky.

Creature comforts

One thing that brought a smile to Jamie’s face were The Kids’ Cancer Project bears he received in hospital. Gifted by generous donors, and given out by the hard-working hospital staff, Nicky highlights the enormous impact these donations had on her son.

“Every time Jamie went in for a procedure, he was given a teddy bear. He just loves them and the fact they all have a different purpose and character. They're a little bit of happiness on a horrible day. I can’t thank the people who donate them enough.”

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Discover: The Kids' Cancer Project Bear Program 


Support at home

Following the last round of surgery, Jamie, who celebrated his fourth birthday in 2021, was given the okay to head back to his beloved animals. Nicky is so grateful that she can now administer her son’s chemotherapy at home, bringing a sense of normality back to the family’s life after so much upheaval.

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“For Jamie to be back home on the farm with all his animals running around, playing in the dirt, jumping in mud puddles - you can't put a price on that. He's still getting there but he can enjoy a bit of life. There were 12 months where we didn't even touch grass because Jamie couldn't go to parks. It's those little things that you don't realise that you miss when you're put in that situation.”

Handling the stress of Jamie’s cancer, alongside the severe side effects of his chemotherapy drugs, was even harder being isolated in Perth. Being back with the family’s support network has made the world of difference. 

The whole community has rallied to support Jamie’s recovery, none more so than his generous big sister Jess. Nicky was so proud to see her daughter lose her locks to provide a wig for someone going through cancer.

“In her words ‘it’s just hair Mum, I can grow it back, they can’t’. She has a heart of gold.”


Find out more: Community Fundraising Events


 

A big thank you

The next 18 months will be difficult for Jamie as he continues to his treatment and adjusts to life back home. The young boy’s next biggest goal is chatting to his family.

“Jamie is very busy with his words and is coming out with some very cute phrases like “great to see you again”. He is such a little character keeping me on my toes.”

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And of course Jamie has been busy playing with all his teddies at home, lining them all up and even taking them on his swing. With so many teddy pals, he has a bear to support him every day.

Nicky says between his teddy bear collection from The Kids’ Cancer Project and the amazing work being done in cancer research they are hopeful for the future.

“He still has some very bad days and he’s not out of the woods just yet. Thank you everyone for your ongoing support, it is appreciated so very much.”

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