THE Psaradellis family of San Souci took a moment's pause on February 15 — International Childhood Cancer Day.
It was the day when mum Cathy Psaradellis celebrates the fact that her daughter Maria, 8, is thriving and healthy.
At three months of age, Maria was diagnosed with a three-centimetre PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumour) in her neck that was pressing on her windpipe and was growing quickly and in danger of cutting off her breathing.
Surgery was out of the question, so what followed was almost two years of chemotherapy and 24 rounds of radiotherapy that required Maria to be put under general anaesthetic each day.
Her treatment was successful and she is now happy and healthy.
"We are very blessed to have our daughter with us and doing so well," Mrs Psaradellis said.
"Having a first child is a thing to celebrate but the normal wonderful things of having a baby were taken away from us very quickly.
"Every cough or fever meant that we had to rush Maria to the doctors.
"The wonderful thing is she doesn't remember anything about her treatment.
"She remembers the team at the radiation oncology site but I don't believe she remembers any of the side effects the chemotherapy drugs had on her."
Since completing her treatment six years ago, Maria has been able to lead a healthy life and has been joined by a younger sister, Alexandria, 4.
"We are looking to the future with hope, although we still have to keep an eye on her," Mrs Psaradellis said.
"She is on track with her growth and is happy and well. We just have to play it day by day.
"We call Maria's doctors miracle workers - they really are," Mrs Psaradellis said.
"We were also lucky to come into contact with the Steven Walter Children's Cancer Foundation, based at Kirrawee, which is dedicated to raising money for research into a cure for childhood cancer."
The foundation has raised more than $6 million for research into a cure for childhood cancer over the past 15 years.
Director Susan Walter said that the cure rate for childhood cancer had improved from 10 per cent to 80 per cent during the past 75 years.
"So there is still some way to go before we reach 100 per cent, but the reason we have come this far is simple - research," Mrs Walter said.
Details, donations: www.stevenwalterfoundation.org.au
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