What started off as a sore knee revealed itself to be something far more serious for Isabelle. During school she was complaining that her knee really hurt, crying to her mother as they drove home. In the span of four days, it got so bad that she had to be carried to the bathroom. It prompted a trip to the hospital where Isabelle’s mum was given the news that her daughter had Leukaemia. Isabelle was only seven years old.
“My world bottomed out. The hardest part was actually having to ring my husband and telling him. Telling him over the phone was the worst…” Isabelle’s mother
During the first three weeks of treatment, Isabelle remained bubbly and positive because of the novelty of it all and the fact she still had her hair...
“Then it started thinning out at the end of the second week, after her diagnosis. So I actually took her to the hairdressers, got a nice little bob because she still had a fair amount of hair,” Isabelle’s mother remembers, and by Christmas Eve her hair was falling out heavily: “She would be sitting there in her bedroom or in the bathroom and she’d just run her fingers through her hair and it was in clumps. It was in handfuls.”
It got to be too much for Isabelle and, when she’d lost almost all her hair, she reluctantly asked her mother to shave her head.
“She got sick of having all the hair on her pillow. Every time she tried to sleep, she was just getting a mouthful of hair...” her mother recalls.
After three months of chemotherapy, Isabelle went back to school, but she wasn’t the same girl. She felt and looked different, and it was something her peers didn’t quite understand. They would point at her, ask to touch her head, and in one instance someone told her she looked like a boy.
That’s when Isabelle’s family got in touch with Camp Quality to have the Primary School Education Program visit her school.
“When Isabelle saw other kids pointing at her, she got really anxious. After the Camp Quality Puppet show, she could go to school without worrying about looking different. It helped bring out her confidence.” Isabelle’s mother
Camp Quality’s Primary School Education Program helped Isabelle’s peers by dispelling myths about ‘catching cancer’, and showed the children good examples of having courage and being a supportive friend. After the show, she headed back to school with confidence and a gorgeous smile!
Do you want to help kids, like Isabelle, living with cancer head back to school with confidence? Make a donation today and support our essential Primary School Education Program.