Help kids like Zahli beat cancer.

Every day in Australia, two families receive the heartbreaking diagnosis that their child has cancer, just like Zahli (11). You can help today. 

Earlier this year, Zahli sat with her parents Jason and Steph in their hometown of Streaky Bay and faced the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – an aggressive and rare type of bone cancer.

Zahli after undergoing a gruelling five-hour operation to remove 16cm of bone in her lower leg.

Image: Zahli after undergoing a gruelling five-hour operation to remove 16cm of bone in her lower leg.

When Zahli turned to her parents and said, “Am I going to die?” all her doctor was able to say was, “I can’t tell you whether you are or not, but I can tell you we’re going to try and do our best to make everything better for you.”

A large, cancerous tumour had grown in Zahli’s leg, dealing a crushing blow to the active preteen accustomed to skateboarding, surfing and running amok with her brothers Connor (12) and Kai (8). It was a shocking discovery at a doctor’s appointment following months of ongoing pain in her leg.

Jason and Steph still had to deliver the heartbreaking news to Zahli’s brothers.

Jason says, “It was pretty hard to explain that she had cancer, that’s for sure, but the boys have both been amazing.”

Zahli’s health quickly became the family’s priority and within weeks they packed up their lives and relocated to Adelaide to be closer to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Jason explains, “We just don’t have the hospital facilities in Streaky Bay. It’s 700km from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and if Zahli happens to get sick overnight we want her to be in the best spot possible, which is Adelaide.”

Zahli in hospital with the support of her loving brothers, Connor (left) and Kai (right).

Image: Zahli with the support of her loving brothers, Connor (left) and Kai (right).

In April, Zahli underwent a gruelling five-hour operation to remove 16cm of bone in her lower leg. With the help of her medical team, crutches, and her steely determination, she was walking within days of the surgery, but the recovery process will be long.

Jason says, “All we ask is for Zahli to be able to get back home and to try and lead a normal life, go down to the beach, go swimming and catch up with friends. People always think ‘it will never be me’ and then suddenly, it is.”

Image: Zahli embracing her dad, Jason, pre-diagnosis.

Zahli’s battle with cancer is only just beginning but her courage inspires us.

“If she had her hair, you wouldn’t even know what she’s going through,” Jason says. “She’s a little pocket rocket. She’s a very strong little girl.”

The Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation funds medical research to find cures for paediatric cancer, supports vulnerable families who have sick children and are experiencing financial duress, runs Play Therapy programs for patients and their siblings, and helps kids transition back to school through the Oncology School Visit Program.

Supporting families every step of their journey.

Your support will fund services and programs that directly benefit families like Zahli’s.

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