Help Talaya: Seven-year-old Talaya Close with mother Amanda Screen are trying to raise $50,000 so Talaya can receive what could be a life-saving operation.
Help Talaya: Seven-year-old Talaya Close with mother Amanda Screen are trying to raise $50,000 so Talaya can receive what could be a life-saving operation. Jay Cronan

$50k to remove girl's brain tumor

INCREDIBLY risky surgery costing more than $50,000 is the only thing that might save Talaya Close’s life.

The seven-year-old, of Ballina, has a brain tumour that doctors have repeatedly said is inoperable.

But last month renowned Sydney-based neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo looked at Talaya’s medical records and said he would do it.

The only problem for the family is the cost.

Mum Amanda Screen said it was a ‘very invasive operation’.

“The tumour is in the middle of her brain,” she said.

“We found out about it just before Easter last year.

“She had been sick for a year, on and off, and we’d been to a lot of doctors.

“Then one day we were in the emergency department at the Ballina Hospital when one of the doctors decided to do a scan on Talaya’s brain.

“They sent us to Brisbane straight away.

“It was a huge shock.

“You don’t expect that your child is going to have a brain tumour.

“The only option has been chemotherapy, but the doctors have been putting that off because once she starts the chemo, she’s really only got about 10 years to live.”

After seeing doctors all over the country, the family finally went to Dr Teo.

“He’s called ‘Last Chance Charlie’,” Ms Screen said.

“It’s been fantastic to find someone who could help us.”

Talaya is booked in to have the operation on August 4, just after her eighth birthday.

She said she was excited.

“I used to get a lot of blackouts,” Talaya said.

“I had bad headaches and it was so annoying.

“Sometimes I got tired.

“When I found out it was a tumour ... I was very sad.”

Family friend Helen Hanslow has launched the Help Talaya Appeal to help raise the required $50,000.

She said the community support had been amazing.

“I’ve had kids tipping their money boxes out,” she said.

“My daughter, Emily (Vaughan), is about to turn nine and instead of presents, she’s told her family and friends to donate to Talaya.

“It’s so wonderful to see the generosity of the kids.

“I just would love to see people donate what they can, whether it’s $20 or $100.”

But even if they don’t raise the $50,000 needed, the family will find a way to pay for the operation because it’s Talaya’s only chance of survival.

“Money is nothing – she must have that operation,” Ms Screen said.

To donate or find out more, visit www.helptalaya.org.au.



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