Three months old when he was first diagnosed, Jonah has never known life without cancer.
“Jonah had been sick for a couple of days”, said Jonah’s mother, Kylie. “I noticed that he looked like he was in pain, it wasn’t normal. We took him down to the hospital where they decided to do a few tests. His eyes were bulging and his neck was stiff,” she told me.
Suddenly he and Kylie were in a helicopter heading for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead for an MRI scan.
“The doctor gave me that horrible news that he had a tumour and that they were going to need to operate to relieve the pressure in his brain. He said that Jonah might not even make it,” Kylie says.
Jonah survived the operation, but began a life in and out of hospital due to its impacts on his body. His family’s life was also turned upside down. Kylie became Jonah’s full-time carer, administering chemotherapy and feeding him through a stomach tube up to 20 hours a day.
Now Jonah is fed every three hours by machine, day and night. This routine takes up much of his day and requires a full-time aide to be with Jonah at school. He misses out on all the simple fun his classmates enjoy, like afterschool activities and having sleepovers due to his constant medical needs.
At the age of eight, Jonah went to Junior Camp. It was his first night away from Kylie – made possible by the presence of Camp Quality medical volunteers and companions. Jonah was not only safe, he says he had “the best time ever!”
Jonah watched the movie Paper Planes, and spent the next day making his own. He danced the afternoon away at our disco with a group of other girls and boys. He starred in the talent contest, telling jokes from his own joke book.
Junior Camp was a place for Jonah to build his independence. It was a time of so many firsts that he cried when he got home because he couldn’t wait for the next camp.
Help us give children like Jonah the experience of Junior Camp, where they can build resilience, optimism and independence, where they can meet new friends, create positive memories and just be a kid again.
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