Young cancer survivor knows how to help others
People flew halfway around the world to support Priscilla John when she wasn’t very well.
And now the 5-year-old wants to help other children with cancer after becoming a Child Cancer Foundation Regional Ambassador.
The Ellerslie youngster was diagnosed with a brain tumour two days after her fourth birthday.
Hospital treatment wasn’t fun but playing at the foundation’s Family Place in Grafton was.
‘‘It didn’t feel that nice but I liked going to the playroom. So I’m going to tell people what it was like,’’ she says.
The budding chef loves to try her skills in the playroom kitchen.
Hearing Priscilla’s diagnosis was surreal, her mum Bensy Mathew says.
‘‘I just didn’t expect it. I’m a doctor so I’m used to delivering this news to other people not going through it myself.
‘‘It adds an empathy and you look at things completely differently now.’’
Dr Mathew first felt something wasn’t right when she noticed Priscilla falling a lot.
‘‘She had an ear infection before that so we thought it was that but I had my doubts.
‘‘We had a scan at 12am and discovered there was a brain tumour.’’
Family and friends flew from as far as Britain when they heard the news.
Priscilla has undergone three brain surgeries and collected 93 ‘‘beads of courage’’.
The beads are worn by thousands of children with cancer to represent the many treatments and procedures they have endured.
It took a bit of time for Priscilla to bounce back after her third surgery but her last scan was clear, Dr Mathew says.
Being able to drop into the Child Cancer Foundation Family Place has made a big difference to her and her daughter.
‘‘When we go for follow-up MRI she does not like it but the fact that we can bring her back here after makes her look forward to it.’’
The Child Cancer Foundation will be fundraising this month.
It aims to reach the $6 million it needs each year to continue to support children and their families
that are affected by child cancer.
Play time: Child Cancer Foundation Regional Ambassador Priscilla John, 5, loves her time playing at the foundation’s Family Place.