Grafton cancer patient Sam Carroll rings in new chapter
THE ring of a bell has ushered in the start of a new chapter for Grafton cancer patient Sam Carroll and his family.
The 11-year-old, who has been battling a rare form of cancer, rang the celebration bell in the oncology unit of the Westmead Children's Hospital last Friday to mark the end of 12 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Dad Adam Carroll said recent tests indicated the tumour was not currently active, meaning the aggressive treatment used to tackle it was successful.
After a final operation to remove a port - used to administer medication - from his chest in coming weeks, Sam will officially move into the observation phase, returning to Sydney once every three months for a PET and MRI scan.
"That'll be the really bookend from a treatment point of view," Mr Carroll said
"I don't think that (port) can come out soon enough as far as he's concerned."
On Thursday morning, the Carroll family appeared on The Morning Show in Sydney to break the good news, and mum Angela said the family was looking forward to a bit of normality.
"As far as we're concerned that chapter is closed and we'll just get on with life now," she said.
On his return to Grafton this weekend, Sam will concentrate on returning to full health, and getting ready to go back to school full-time.
Mr Carroll said Sam was itching to get outside and play sport again, but due to lingering side effects of the treatment it may be a little while before he can play contact sports.
"He does get tired very quickly and that annoys him because he's so active," Mr Carroll said.
"I don't know how long the side effects will last, but they could stick around for a few months. His body returning to normal is the big thing, and getting fit.
"He's just looking forward to being a normal kid."
Mr Carroll also made mention of the way Sam's siblings Hugh and Mae handled their brother's treatment period, which often saw the family at different ends of the state.
"Angela and I are both looking forward to it and not just for ourselves but our other kids; their lives have been turned upside down as well," he said.
"They've been amazing, and obviously having all our family locally helps with that too. We wouldn't have been able to do it without our parents."