Family’s pain fuels push to work towards cancer cure WE MUST FIND A WAY TO END THIS
A TOWNSVILLE couple is putting aside their heartwrenching grief over their only son’s life- threatening cancer diagnosis to help raise money for children’s cancer research. Orthopaedic surgeon Levi Morse and his wife Tina’s three- year- old son Orlando was diagnosed with stage four, high risk, neuroblastoma when he was only eight months old. “When we were told how serious his diagnosis was we felt like the world had stopped, our world had stopped,” Mrs Morse said. “I felt like I was drowning. I’d come up for a breath of air, and then I’d be told another piece of horrendous information about Orlando’s diagnosis and then I felt I was being pushed under the water again.” Dr Morse said learning a child had a life- threatening illness was “as bad as it gets”. “I needed to take time away from my job and focus on my family,” he said. “Orlando’s cancer has affected the whole family very deeply, to our core.” The couple, who also have three daughters, is organising a gala dinner and charity auction at A Touch of Salt restaurant on August 1 to raise funds for the Kids’ Cancer Project. The Kids’ Cancer Project, founded by Townsville man Col Reynolds OAM, is also starting a major fundraising campaign on August 2. Mr Reynolds will drive his bus down the east coast of Australia, starting in Townsville, to raise awareness and encourage more people to support research into childhood cancers.
Dr Morse said the Kids’ Cancer Project was unique because it focused on supporting childhood cancer research.
“We were given a number from the outset with regards to the likelihood of recovery at five years, and that sticks with you as an ongoing devastating thought,” he said.
“For Orlando’s type of cancer there’s about a 20- 30 per cent five- year survival rate.
“Leukaemia has about an 80- 90 per cent survival rate at the moment. Thirty years ago a leukaemia diagnosis was a death sentence.
“Research is vital and changes the outcome for many childhood cancers.
“We want to raise as much as we can for childhood cancer research so no other family needs to go through this.” To book tickets to the gala fundraiser on August 1 go to trybooking. com/ QRBU or to donate to the auction contact The Kids’ Cancer Project at hello@ tkcp. org. au or go to thekidscancerproject. org. au