Fam­ily’s pain fu­els push to work to­wards can­cer cure WE MUST FIND A WAY TO END THIS

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - BETTINA WARBURTON bettina. warburton@ news. com. au

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

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