Each year, more than 950 children in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. The Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre currently treats a number of these and thanks to the generosity of others, their cancer journey is supported by helpful diversion programs.
Sophie Lubransky had always been a vibrant young girl but in February 2016 Sophie’s parents Kristy and Warren noticed a change in her demeanour. They initially thought Sophie was adjusting to a new school year, until she started to look unwell. Sophie underwent a standard blood test and the following day Kristy received a call at work that delivered news no parent wants to hear: “Your child has leukaemia.”
At seven years of age, Sophie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a type of fast-growing cancer.
Within two days of her diagnosis, Sophie was admitted to Monash Children’s Hospital to begin her cancer care journey at the Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre. It was here that Sophie started a series of intensive treatments which involved lumbar punctures, a port implant, a nasogastric tube and exhaustive chemotherapy. Kristy describes the days and weeks that followed as “shocking” and “horrific”.
Her husband Warren says, “It’s a relentless cycle and you tend not to look too far ahead. You look at things goal to goal – the next test, the next procedure. You try to just focus on the next thing – but there’s always the ‘what if?’ thought that goes through your mind.”
After many months of demanding treatments and a rollercoaster of emotions, Kristy and Warren are quick to credit Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre staff for making their family feel safe and reassured, and for making Sophie feel comfortable and nurtured throughout her lengthy stay.
The Lubransky family is profoundly appreciative of additional and important services such as music, art and play therapy, all of which helped Sophie cope with her illness and offered a welcome distraction during difficult times.
Says Warren, “It’s daunting. Treatments can go for 12-14 hours, so we might spend the day playing and drawing with a child life therapist, or enjoying music therapy. One day someone played a Disney song on the harp while Sophie had to have her nasogastric tube removed and this helped her immeasurably.”
“You don’t realise when you come in where the funds for all of these important services come from. It changes the child’s day but you don’t understand until later that often these things need to be funded,” he says.
Warren and Kristy were overjoyed with recent news that after eight months of cancer treatment Sophie is in remission and will be well enough to go home in time for a very special Christmas with her family.
Says Kristy, “Hopefully by Christmas we’re expecting her to be feeling very well. It has been a really tough year so it’s going to be a really special Christmas. Sophie will still need to go back for more treatment but now she has a very positive future.”
If you would like to support patients like Sophie and the Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre, you can do so by giving your loved ones Share the Care gift cards this Christmas. To make a secure donation online visit sharethecare.monashhealthfoundation.org