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Giving back to say thanks to the community

FULL OF LIFE: Brett Jones riding his go-kart down the driveway of the family home in Maroondan.
FULL OF LIFE: Brett Jones riding his go-kart down the driveway of the family home in Maroondan. Mike Knott BUNBRE

IMAGINE you're one week off having a baby, your town is flooded and you get the news that your five-year-old son has cancer.

This the position Amanda and Graham Jones were in in 2013, now they hope to give back to the organisations who supported their family, by holding a car and bike show at Maroondan State School next month.

Mrs Jones said times were tough when Brett first became sick in December 2012 and after six weeks of on-and-off again temperatures she demanded answers to why her son wasn't getting any better.

"We had blood tests done at first and it showed that something was abnormal, but we were told just to keep an eye on him," Mrs Jones Said

"Brett is an energetic little boy - never complains - so when the doctors looked at him, they said 'he doesn't look really sick'," she said.

"But I knew - when I saw him lying on the floor saying his arms, legs and tummy hurt - something was definitely wrong.

"We took him back to the base and, after persisting to have tests done, we were flown to Brisbane, where we found out he had advanced Hodgkin lymphoma."

Mrs Jones said it was then that she went into labour and couldn't be there for Brett, leaving her feeling torn.

So, she said, she is grateful to her mum who was there to hold Brett's hand throughout his treatments, before moving the whole family to Brisbane for a further seven months while Brett underwent treatment.

"He had chemotherapy but no radiation as that only targets one area and Brett had it all through his body - in his bones, liver, everywhere," she said

"I begged to come home but couldn't, and I couldn't split the kids up, so with my husband away working at the mines, the rest of us lived at the CCS units (Childhood Cancer Support units) and the older children attended school at Royal Children's Hospital School.

With Brett in remission and back to his smiling self the family would like to give back to charities by raising money at what Mrs Jones hopes will become an annual event.

"I want to give back because without these organisations, no one is around to help the children and their families.

"My biggest thing is 'let's help other kids'," she said.

"We are holding the event at Brett's school as they have been wonderful, so supportive, they even had Camp Quality go along and teach the kids about cancer; the kids needed to know why Brett lost his hair."

The car and bike show will be held at Maroondan State School on Saturday, August 30 between 1-5pm, raising money for Camp Quality and the CCS.

If you can assist as a volunteer, would like to hold a stall or have a bike or car to show, phone 4157 4156 or 0435 521 790.

Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which forms part of the immune system.

Each year in Australia, about 550 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for 0.5% of cancers diagnosed.

It can occur at any age but it is most common in adolescents and young adults and occurs more frequently in males.

The causes of most cases of remain unknown but it is thought to result from damage to one or more of the genes that normally controls blood cell development.

The most common symptom is a firm, usually painless swelling of a lymph node (swollen glands), usually in the neck, under the arms or in the groin. Other symptoms may include fevers, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue and generalised itching.

Treatment depends mainly on the stage, or extent of disease. Most people with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured. Treatment includes radiotherapy, chemotherapy and, in relapses, stem cell transplants.

Topics:  family, parenting



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