The Morley family of six lived a very busy life. Sian and James juggled work, school commitments for two of their kids, day care commitments, social sport and hobbies. So, when their three-year-old daughter, Alice had to be driven to Brisbane for an urgent ophthalmologist appointment, they could not imagine the impact it would have on their family.
Alice had congenital ptosis her entire life, yet Sian and James noticed the drop in her eye lid was getting worse. Their first thought was that it was related to the Ptosis, and after seeing multiple GP’s no infections were found. Over time, Alice’s eye starting swelling and protruding out of her eye socket, her parents took her to see three GP’s, an optometrist and a head of trauma doctor.
The family flew to Brisbane for an ophthalmologist appointment, where Alice was sent straight to the hospital for an MRI, CT scans and a biopsy. The doctors confirmed that Alice had a tumour around her optic nerve.
The families first reaction was to work through the logistics of what was to come. They considered moving houses, looking for new jobs and how it would impact their finances. So many things went through their mind. Focusing on these things masked the concern and worry they had for Alice. The logistics was something they could focus on and change, they had to put their trust in Alice’s doctors to tackle the hurdle the family was facing.
“We could not comprehend why this was happening to our baby girl. Life is not always fair, and our focus was on how we could help Alice the best we could so she could overcome cancer while providing what was best for our family.”
The unknown of what was to come was the biggest struggle for the Morley family. Childhood Cancer Support was able to help. After a month long stay in the smaller units, the family moved to the Crown House accommodation in South Brisbane. Sian can still remember the feeling of walking through the house and was so grateful that the family had a comfortable and stable place to stay during Alice’s treatment.
The first Friday night BBQ is something the family will always remember. Seeing all the kids playing together, racing on scooters and bikes brought them so much happiness. To see the kids step away from the battle of their lives and get the chance to connect with others and ‘just be kids’ was truly inspirational.
“The supports that Childhood Cancer Support offers to families in these devastating times is amazing. Just having a comfortable, home like place to stay throughout Alice’s treatment has been life changing and something that we will be forever grateful for.”
Alice had to undergo many operations and 15 rounds of chemotherapy. Recently, Alice lost her eye to cancer but she continues to see her oncologist who checks her blood and overall health regularly. She does sometimes experience nausea and tiredness from her treatment, but she is a superstar. Despite her treatment, Alice is her usual bright, bubbly and playful self. She is so eager to continue on with her normal life.
Alice’s diagnosis broke the hearts of James and Sian but having the support of Childhood Cancer Support and the community made such an impact for their family.