Lit­tle Paige ‘has come back from the brink’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - DWAYNE GRANT dwayne.grant@news.com.au

LIT­TLE Paige Skar­ratts – the flower girl who broke a city’s heart – is prov­ing to be a re­al­life ver­sion of her hero Won­der Woman.

A fort­night since her par­ents held an impromptu wed­ding at Bris­bane’s Lady Ci­lento Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal af­ter be­ing told she only had days to live, the four-year-old has not only gained enough strength to have a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure but re­warded her loved ones with some “beau­ti­ful” smiles.

“She is fight­ing so hard,” said In­nez Ston­nell, the woman who or­gan­ised a wed­ding in less than 24 hours so her niece could re­alise her dream of be­ing her par­ents’ flower girl be­fore suc­cumb­ing to brain cancer.

“She has come back from the brink. There were ab­so­lutely no signs of re­cov­ery. The doc­tors pre­pared (her par­ents) Jake and Ta­nia for the fact she may not even sur­vive the night.

“How­ever, dur­ing the past week she has be­come quite sta­ble and that’s why they were able to put her un­der on Wed­nes­day and in­stall a shunt (to re­lieve pres­sure on the brain caused by ex­cess fluid).

“We still don’t know what will hap­pen but there is so much more hope than there was a week ago. For her to pull through that surgery is un­be­liev­able.”

Paige, who was di­ag­nosed two months ago with a brain tu­mour the size of a small lemon, has also gifted her par­ents some­thing they feared they would never see again.

“She can’t move but Ta­nia and Jake are able to help open her eyes and as soon as she sees you, you get the most heart­warm­ing smile. It’s so beau­ti­ful,” In­nez said.

“We know when she’s lis- ten­ing be­cause if some­thing funny hap­pens, she’ll give us a lit­tle smile. We’ll look over and say ‘Oh gosh, she’s smil­ing’. We all try to joke and play with her be­cause that in­ter­ac­tion is re­ally im­por­tant.

“She doesn’t have move­ment but to know she’s still re­spond­ing with her brain is a mas­sive thing.”

As is the pub­lic re­sponse since last week’s ex­clu­sive story about Paige’s star turn as a flower girl along­side twoyear-old sis­ter Imo­gen.

With a myr­iad of me­dia out­lets shar­ing the emo­tional tale, the Pim­pama fam­ily has not only found it­self in the prayers of strangers from across the globe but seen more than $20,000 do­nated to an on­line fundrais­ing cam­paign in less than a week.

“We’re get­ting mes­sages from all over the world,” In­nez said.

“Ja­pan, Ger­many, Scot­land – just ran­dom places you’d never ex­pect to hear from. We’ve seen ar­ti­cles (on­line) writ­ten in other lan­guages.

“My only thought when I started the Go Fund Me was ‘They could lose ev­ery­thing and I can’t let that hap­pen’. Jake and Ta­nia have been off work for weeks be­cause they are ba­si­cally liv­ing at the hospi­tal. They barely leave Paige’s side.

“The last thing you want to think about dur­ing a pe­riod like this is fi­nances and from the time you pub­lished the ar­ti­cle, it just went crazy. I’ve never seen any­thing like the com­mu­nity sup­port we’ve had.

“It’s so over­whelm­ing for Jake and Ta­nia and I’m not even sure they know the ex­tent of what’s hap­pen­ing. They’ve seen the odd snip­pet on Face­book but they’re not sit­ting on so­cial me­dia ev­ery day. They’re car­ing for their girl. The strength they’ve shown to say ‘We’re not giv­ing up on her’ is amaz­ing’.”

Asked a week ago how she had found such in­ner re­solve, Paige’s mother gave a nod to her lit­tle Won­der Woman.

“I’m sure Paige is giv­ing me that strength be­cause I hon­estly don’t know where it’s com­ing from,” Ta­nia said.

“She has made me the per­son I am to­day, her charisma and her de­fi­ance … at only four years old she’s fight­ing the big­gest fight of her life and she’s still here.”

Best of all, a week later those words still ring true.

To help, visit go­fundme.com/ jake-and-ta­nia-for-paige

Paige Skar­ratts is vis­ited by her sis­ter Imo­gen. Left: Our front page on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 6.

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