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Childhood cancer: Laura just wants to be happy and go home

BUSH BATTLER: 14 year old Laura Sharman from Borumba undergoes another three month round of chemotherapy in Brisbane for the New Year.
BUSH BATTLER: 14 year old Laura Sharman from Borumba undergoes another three month round of chemotherapy in Brisbane for the New Year. Tanya Easterby

HAND in hand with the new year come celebrations, resolutions and challenges, all of which Laura Sharman knows too well.

At age 14, she has a rare adult form of cancer called a peripheral nerve sheath sarcoma.

The cancer affects nerve functions in the body and very little is known about the disease.

Laura was diagnosed shortly before her birthday in 2013 and on the day she turned 14 she finished her first round of chemotherapy.

Her mother Sharon-Ann Sharman said doctors had no idea how to treat the disease.

"She had three tumours on her tibia bone," she said.

"When we saw the first MRI scan, it looked like there was a giant jellyfish around her muscles.

"I can't find another child in the English-speaking world with the same condition as Laura.

"One doctor even admitted the cancer scared him."

When Laura was first diagnosed, doctors wanted to amputate her leg, but after consultation it was decided chemotherapy would be the best form of treatment.

However because little is known about the cancer, it has been touch and go.

"The doctors were not sure what the outcome would be," Ms Sharman said.

"Yet her treatment has been going amazingly well and the outcome is looking good.

"Every 21 days Laura is treated with another round of chemo therapy."

For three days a month Laura can leave her bed at the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital.

"We are just like a normal family. We go to the museum or for a walk," Ms Sharman said.

"It's just about spending every moment together."

The best Christmas present for Laura was being able to spend five days at home with her family at their Imbil property.

"It was absolutely brilliant, we just had a family lunch on the

verandah," Ms Sharman said.

"She misses her pets terribly and she even realised she missed the goats, which she didn't like so much before.

"Even things as simple as the smell of a frangipani flower she treasures."

Topics:  cancer editors picks health

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