“As a parent, it really is just a living hell.”

“As a parent, it really is just a living hell.”

Tania is using her art to make a difference for children with cancer – even while her beloved daughter has tragically run out of options.

When her twins were born in 2017, Melbourne mum Tania didn’t immediately get to make a new home for her babies, as most mums look forward to doing.

Just a few months after she was born, her daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer, a sub-type of leukaemia known as acute myeloid leukaemia. 

Instead of settling into their house as a family, Tania and her brood found that the hospital became their home.

“She was immediately put into hospital and basically stayed there for the next ten months,” Tania recalls. “So, we then basically moved into the hospital, into the cancer ward. She was just a baby, so I lived by her bedside that whole time. She’s got a twin brother, so he was there as well, and so was her dad.”

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The baby’s condition didn’t improve. Her first relapse came just four months into the treatment. 

“It was an extremely difficult and painful battle, she endured endless suffering all the way through,” Tania says. “The second relapse came a few months after the first. With that second one, the cancer moved from the bone marrow into the central nervous system, and into the spinal fluid.”

“So, this poor little girl had an enormous battle, facing obstacle after obstacle. After the third relapse, last year, the doctors ran out of treatment options. Amazingly, there is no treatment for leukemia in the spinal fluid. So, the only option available was palliative treatment."

"On several occasions we had devastating conversations with the doctors where we were told it’s incurable. As a parent, it really is just a living hell.”

Despite the worst expectations, Tania’s daughter has defied the odds. Still, Tania says, the lack of certainty around her beautiful, little girl’s future is paralysing, at times.

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“It’s incomprehensible to be told there aren’t any more treatments available, just devastating,” she says. “Teams of oncologists from around the globe have looked into her case and nobody has an answer. It is tortuous to think of what would happen if she relapses again.”

That’s why science and research are so important, Tania says. It’s the only way we’re going to find the solutions that children like her daughter so desperately need.

“It’s not just about curing the cancer,” she says. “The science is also about quality of life for survivors.”

“The fact that my daughter had a lot of chemo directly into her spinal fluid meant it affected her brain, so she now has all sorts of health issues and cognitive impairment. This is why the research is so important.”

“The chemo is so damaging for children with developing bodies and developing minds. It can save their life, but the consequences of treatment can also be enormous.”

Since she was in high school, Tania has painted. When her daughter was released from hospital and the family finally came home, Tania began to paint more. It came as a welcome distraction, helping her relax during an extremely stressful time.


To support the work of The Kids’ Cancer Project, Tania has begun selling paintings via her website.

Read more: Fundraising for The Kids’ Cancer Project


Her first painting sold for $650, and Tania donated 100 percent to The Kids’ Cancer Project. She’s now selling further prints and paintings, and 50 percent of each sale will go to the charity.

“Actually, I see this as a lifelong project, now,” she says. “A lot of children have run out of treatment options. I believe so strongly that we need to find more answers, we need to make advances in treatment for all of these children.”

 

“I know, on a personal level, how important the work of The Kids’ Cancer Project is. The only thing that is going save these children’s lives is the research. So, I want to contribute to that.”

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