Patrick’s fight to beat growing tumour: How you can help
LITTLE Patrick Murphy, dressed in his Broncos jersey, sits among his toys in his play room, turning over colourful balls and building blocks in his hands and lighting up with an infectious grin.
So happy and curious is the 19-month-old that when he became sick with vomiting in October last year, Rockhampton Hospital doctors couldn't fathom that something far more sinister than their diagnosis of "cow milk protein allergies" was wrecking havoc on his tiny, malnourished body.
"He was still eating but was constantly vomiting and was very malnourished - his paediatrician said they'd never seen anything like it," mum Chontelle Svensen said.
"We went to Anastacia Palasczuk's office, social media and health ministers, and after being admitted to Rockhampton Hospital and having all the tests, we were sent down to Brisbane where they found a brain tumour.
"They performed surgery the following week."
Chontelle and Patrick's father, Beau, were "horrified", angry that it had taken so long to diagnose, yet relieved to finally get some answers.
However, doctors were baffled when the tumour (now 28.2mm, growing but stable) grew back bigger than before, six weeks later.
After a biopsy revealed the tumour was a stage one, Patrick began chemotherapy in March, every three to four weeks for six weeks at a time.
At this stage, surgery is a last resort as the tumour is positioned in his pituitary gland.
"He's stable but he has no immune system. His neutrophils are 0.4, which is very low, so he's being isolated," Chontelle said.
"Chemotherapy seems to have stabilised it so we'll continue and see whether it turns the tumour off."
Chontelle has organised a fundraiser to raise money towards brain cancer research which will be held at Callaghan Park on November 2.
A number of small businesses have jumped on board, donating goods for raffles, as well as Lewie Loos Plumbing volunteering to shave their heads, car shows, pony rides, and other family fun.
Patrick will also appear on billboards around Rocky to promote the Qld Children's Hospital Telethon on Channel 9 November 16.
"I've been in contact with other brain cancer parents and there was a little boy who passed away this year from it," Chontelle said.
"It gets the least funding but it's the biggest killer. I'm trying to get awareness out there as much as possible to find a cure for people or kids suffering."
Chontelle is fundraising on behalf of Queensland Children Hospital's new Brain Cancer and Paediatric Research centre.
For more information on the fundraiser and to follow Patrick's journey, visit Team Patrick M on Facebook.