On February 18th, I will eat to celebrate with Harper and her family because #kidsgetcancertoo. #remission #ependymoma #braincancer @eaticecreamdayTweet
Harper is a bubbly six year old with a crazy sense of humour, who LOVES loves the beach by her Australian home, dancing on a dance team and playing with her friends at the park. She is also an awesome big sister to Khalani and Tanner. Her entire family, including mum Meagan and dad Dominic, love camping, exploring the beach and staying inside and watching movies together.
Three weeks before her sixth birthday, Harper was diagnosed with a brain tumour called an Ependymoma. An ependymoma is a primary central nervous system (CNS) tumor. This means it begins in the brain or spinal cord. This is a rare type of cancer with only an estimated 1,098 people being diagnosed each year.
Harper has under gone a full resection via craniotomy, 39 general anesthetics and 33 rounds of radiation.
Her mom summarized the 13 weeks (3 months) of active treatment like this: “We were a spec of sand away from loosing our beautiful daughter! Everything has happened so fast…
- 12th March Harper was diagnosed with a mass on her brain.
- 15th March we were told it was a tumour after an MRI.
- 22nd March our baby had an 11 hour brain surgery and ICU stay.
- 23rd March follow up MRI
- 24th March she had her brain drain removed and started taking steps again.
- 27th March Harper was able to come home with us.
- 2nd of April our strong girl turned 6! And despite everything had an amazing time!
- 7th of April we were told it was cancer.
- 13th of April Harper had a full body CT in preparation for radiation therapy.
- 28th of April Harper had her PICC line inserted and a CT to make sure nothing had returned before treatment.
- 29th April Harper had her first session of radiation therapy!
- 12th may we found our Harpers eyes had declined dramatically
- 13th may we were told the type of tumour she has was an Ependymoma
- 22nd may Harper had majority of her hair loss happen
- 15th June Harper has now completed 33 sessions (6.5 long weeks) of radiation therapy!! She has also had her PICC line removed with the help of some VR goggles, and rang the end of treatment bell!!
Before the tumour was removed, it did much damage and Harper has lost a significant amount of vision. She has no depth perception and is now colour blind.
She is currently almost 1 year post diagnosis and back at school and now has regular 3 monthly MRI’s to make sure the cancer doesn’t reoccur. “I don’t think there are words to explain the emotions and feelings that happen when you know that scan is getting close let alone how it feels on the day… tension runs high.. stress is full on.. emotions are full blown!!”
From Harpers Journey Facebook Page, “A few parents at school are just realizing Harper is “the cancer kid” and you think it would be a natural thing to talk about but it’s still really awkward people tend to freak out and hold you at arms length.. and I’ve noticed a lot of parents put a fear in their children about cancer! I know it’s a scary thing but misinformation can actually make it worse.. we are an open book about Harpers type and happy to explain anything you may not know or understand. It’s why we made this page to show people that Harper is still a happy little girl she just has bigger challenges then most.”
Follow along with Harper’s Journey: