Jazmyn is Louise and Adam's 'miracle child'. Due to Adam’s treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, they had been told he couldn’t conceive. But two weeks into his chemotherapy they fell pregnant with Jazmyn. Their beautiful little girl brought a burst of new life into their family, joining Louise’s two older kids Jensen, nine, and Keeley, 20.
Adam’s cancer went into remission and all was well for the family. At three Jazmyn started kindy, and Louise says she would have moments of being super active and then want to curl up in a ball on the sofa, but it didn’t seem out of the ordinary. It was just her personality.
“Jazmyn was a normal happy three year old little girl, going to kinder every day, playing with her brother,” Louise says.
When Jazmyn developed some little bruises and coughs and colds, they were put down to the usual kinder tumbles and germs. However a friend who regularly visited kept mentioning that she was looking pale, so Adam and Louise took Jazmyn for a blood test, thinking she must be anaemic.
Louise didn’t imagine for a moment her happy little girl had cancer. But Adam was facing his biggest fear, that his daughter had cancer too. After a late-night call from the pathology lab, Jazmyn was called into hospital and diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Treatment began immediately, starting with a lumber puncture the very next day.
Jazmyn was too young to understand what was happening to her, and the pain and trauma from her many procedures was a daily struggle. For the first four weeks she would barely speak or look at her mum and dad.
“There was a lot of resentment to us as her parents,” Adam says. “She would say 'Dad, can’t you take it away?' There’s no worse question in the world, when you’re a dad.”
A Camp Quality family liaison was there with a friendly face and a welcome pack soon after diagnosis, to check in and make sure the family had access to programs. Midway through the second phase of her treatment Jazmyn was well enough to meet the Camp Quality Puppets.
“When Camp Quality come to visit our hospital bed with their puppets, Jazmyn breaks into the biggest smile you’ve ever seen,” Louise says. “She mucks around, she sings she laughs, she turns into my bubbly little girl again.”
No matter how exhausted or nauseous she feels, as soon as she hears the puppets’ voices coming up the corridor Jazmyn sits up in anticipation to greet them. These small moments of joy make her feel like a kid again and brighten her days. Louise is keeping a scrapbook of these special times. “Little things like that are important to show her that she wasn’t just ill in bed doing nothing – people cared,” Louise says.
This Christmas is Jazmyn’s first since her diagnosis. To bring the gift of laughter to her and other kids living with cancer this festive season you can donate at: https://www.campquality.org.au/jazmyn