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Nine years ago Xavier’s family had their darkest days, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. After enduring many difficult times, they now celebrate his remarkable achievements, and he lives a full life. They share their story to give other families courage and hope.
"Our son Xavier was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011 at age 8 - we remember him being given a 25% chance of survival. In our darkest days and his sickest moments, the staff of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) kept him smiling and kept the wind in our sails. The treatment he received, while so difficult to go through, meant that he was eventually able to potentially overcome his cancer. While his recovery has been at times tough, we never gave up trying and seeing the best in all situations.
"We thank the Cancer Centre for Children and CHW so much for the time, intelligence, support and commitment you have given to Xavier and many like him.
Xavier is now 17 years old. He enjoys riding bikes, creating beautiful works out of timber, laughing with his siblings, attending school fulltime, painting, feeling energetic and is living a full and good life.
"[We hope] our story gives other families courage and hope. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and the hardest roads often lead to the most wonderful destinations. Cancer has taught our family to be much more compassionate, much more adventurous, to work hard, to live a life of meaning, to serve others and to love our time together and that spent with family.
"We offer our prayers to all the families going through treatment of childhood diseases. We offer our deepest condolences to those families who have lost their precious children too soon. We thank the staff for doing amazing things for the sick kids in your care. All your hard work, sacrifice, humour, persistence, clinical excellence and sacrifices make our families and many like us feel so grateful and thankful.
"You really are Modern Day Saints and while you can’t fly to the Bahamas or get canonised in Rome, we hope that you can sit down somewhere beautiful and experience a feeling of success. Success that you have saved a life like Xavier’s and the world is richer for it."
Photo: L-R A/Prof Geoff McCowage, Xavier, Clinical Support Administrator Donna Dell'Unto
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