Your donation improves cancer treatment for kids
This Christmas, give kids like Toby the best opportunity for a future with fewer lifelong side effects.
Toby's cancer struggle
At just three weeks old, Toby was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma - a very rare childhood cancer. For 11 months, he went through chemotherapy. He endured hair loss, vomiting, fever, transfusions, skin infections and viruses... only to find out the treatment didn’t work.
"I remember being told that you give the child chemotherapy and hope the cancer dies before the child does. That's how toxic the treatment can be."
- Jenaya, Toby's mum.
The alarm bells start ringing
During a routine prenatal checkup, an anomaly in Toby's arm set off a chain of events that led to the discovery of a rare cancer. Doctors initially thought the mass on Toby’s arm was a birthmark. Discharged from the hospital and turned away from a GP, Jenaya was left second guessing her concerns.
But, unwilling to wait months for his next checkup, at just three weeks post-partum, Jenaya took matters into her own hands and organized a biopsy.
A beautiful room for bad news
The biopsy confirmed that baby Toby needed urgent testing. Jenaya never anticipated those tests would bring such distressing news. She still believed Toby had a birthmark, right up until the doctor ushered her into a beautiful room in the hospital. There, he delivered the somber news, "I'm sorry, it's a malignant spindle cell neoplasm, known as infantile fibrosarcoma."
How research changed Toby's outcome
Toby was put on chemotherapy immediately, but the treatment he received over the next few months was ineffective. He was going to lose his arm and shoulder, where the tumour was located, until a glimmer of hope appeared. His oncology team sought compassionate use of a targeted treatment that in theory could work but had never been used on a baby. The results were miraculous: The tumour – which midway through chemotherapy treatments was the size of a fist – shrunk enough to be removed.
Toby’s story isn’t just about survival; it’s a testament to the transformative power of research.
Up to 80% of childhood cancer survivors face life-altering long-term side effects. The Viertel Cancer Research Centre is combatting this issue head-on through two crucial projects:
Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR)
The ACCR has bridged the gap between doctors and researchers by developing groundbreaking ways for childhood cancer researchers across the world to collect information about the stages of childhood cancer. This information provides crucial insights never before available and fosters international collaboration to improve childhood cancer outcomes and care.
Support these projects
Researchers at Cancer Council Queensland have estimated that around 17,500 Australians living today were diagnosed with cancer as a child. As they’ve become adults, many face serious late effects from their cancer or its treatment. This project aims to investigate these late effects in detail, giving us the information we need to better support childhood cancer survivors throughout their lives.
Support these projects
Your donation is their opportunity
Toby's story is not uncommon. 810 Australian children under 15 get diagnosed with cancer each year - that's 16 kids per week.
Some face dire survival odds, while survivors bear the weight of long-term side effects from necessary treatments.
Your Christmas donation supports our Viertel Cancer Research Centre, where we investigate cancer's lasting effects on children. This crucial research aims to provide better treatment and lifelong support for children like Toby.