Millie's comeback will make everyone smile
WHEN eight-year-old Emilia Trustum, known as Millie, complained of a sore left shoulder last December, her parents thought she'd simply injured herself bouncing around on the trampoline.
A few days later the Tatham family were horrified to learn the true cause of her pain was a life-threatening tumour (the size of a grapefruit) sitting behind her heart.
"Two days after Millie told us her shoulder was sore, she woke up with a high temperature, and we knew something was not right,” her mother Erica Trustum said.
At the emergency department, doctors initially suspected pneumonia, however a chest X-ray revealed the large tumour in her chest, and she was transferred to the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane for specialist treatment.
Pressure from the growing tumour had placed Millie in a life-threatening situation. It was compressing her main airways and the blood supply to her lungs, causing her left lung to stop functioning.
"Millie's oncologist explained there was a high chance of curing Millie's type of cancer with chemotherapy treatment, but unfortunately her tumour didn't respond to the first round of treatment, and she relapsed shortly after while she was fighting a lung infection,” Erica said.
"They then tried a new chemotherapy drug and the tumour responded far better than anyone expected, which meant she could have a bone marrow transplant - donated by her big sister Olivia.
Millie's most recent scan was clear of cancer and she is currently in remission - and settling back into life on the family farm after 10 months in and out of hospital.
While Millie remains in isolation at home because her immune system is still suppressed, and she still attends weekly check-ups at the Queensland Children's Hospital, Millie is excited to be heading back to school next year.
"Throughout this entire journey, Millie has faced every challenge and obstacle with a smile on her face,” said Erica.
Millie and her family are sharing her story to help other sick kids and encourage locals to donate to the 2019 Nine Telethon in support of the Children's Hospital Foundation.