Meet the Seaborn family.
Four-year-old Tawhai lived with his family in rural town, Moranbah. He was an adventurous little boy, he loved to go camping and the family would go away every chance they got!
You could often find Tawhai riding his bike or playing Minecraft. So, when Tawhai’s parents were sitting with a doctor, being told their four-year-old son had a Stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma, they were in complete shock and disbelief.
In late 2021, they took Tawhai to the doctor for a lump in his calf, but there were no other symptoms. Not even a week later, Tawhai was flown to Brisbane where a biopsy confirmed his diagnosis, before admitting him to the oncology ward at the Queensland Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy immediately.
“We lived in a small country town, which was very relaxed, to a busy city life within a matter of weeks, which was a huge adjustment for us,” said mum, Lei-Lani.
Lei-Lani took on the role of carer for Tawhai and their family became a sole income family. This made it very challenging to find accommodation in Brisbane in the current rental market.
“It became quite isolating – either being in hospital or home, there was no in between. Not having a lot of emotional support around was hard so I was happy to know that Childhood Cancer Support offered free counselling services from our home. They helped us in our darkest days. And we are forever grateful.”
Still currently in treatment, Tawhai has spent 13 months so far with Childhood Cancer Support in our East Brisbane accommodation. Tawhai’s treatment has been such a hard time for the entire family. Some nights, Tawhai would fall asleep sitting up in his Mum’s arms due to nausea when lying down. Not only did he lose a lot of weight, but Tawhai developed neuropathy from the chemotherapy and struggled to walk unassisted. His immune system was so weak that even socialising with other children was not an option and isolation became one of the only ways to keep him safe. The only way to get through it is one day at a time – not looking too far forward or too far back.
As of January 2023, Tawhai has been through two surgeries and 14 rounds of chemotherapy, as well as six maintenance rounds, totalling 16 months in treatment and 13 months in Childhood Cancer Support accommodation.
A highlight in that time for Tawhai was the Talk Like a Pirate Day CityCat takeover – he “had the best time on the CityCat, meeting Captain Feathersword and dancing.”
“Without Childhood Cancer Support, our lives would have completely fallen apart financially and emotionally.”
Without Childhood Cancer Support, they’re not sure where they would have been, especially given how long Tawhai has been in treatment for.
“Please donate to Childhood Cancer Support. Your donations help regional families like ours to have a home and emotional support in our darkest times.”