Little Paige ‘has come back from the brink’
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.