Celebrating Jett – a true Footy Colours Day champion
Our next Footy Colours Day champion to enter the spotlight is the incredibly sweet and courageous Jett who remarkably found confidence and strength through his experience!
Jett, who is a mad Parramatta Eels supporter and budding mathematician, has a story more recent than our other Footy Colours Day kids.
Jett’s story begins at the start of October 2018 when he seemed to catch a common case of conjunctivitis. As time continued to pass and Jett’s eye showed no signs of improvement, concern from his mum Mel grew. Upon lifting his eyelid Mel noticed a growth that wasn’t supposed to be there.
After a visit to the doctor and subsequent operation to remove what they thought at the time was just a lesion, Mel recalls the day she heard the life-changing news, “I was at work and we got the call 7th November telling us to pack up our stuff and go straight to Sydney for tests. Then on the 16th of November he was formally diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma – it’s a mouthful.”
From that moment seven-year-old Jett, who was just finishing year one, and his family were faced with seven months of chemotherapy, six weeks of which he would require radiation.
Luckily, throughout his treatment Jett was able to attend his regular school part time when he was feeling up to it, but our education support program added an extra layer of support that Mel explains was invaluable for Jett.
“I don’t know what we would have done without it, obviously it is a horrible situation as they are feeling lousy but they do still need to try and do something. The program gave him a sense of normality. You know, if you’re feeling lousy but you are doing something and taking your mind off it then you are still using your brain. It takes their mind away from the horrible situation. It’s invaluable really.”
As a teacher’s aide herself, one of Mel’s early concerns, she explains, was the fear for Jett’s education.
“I did say to Jett’s school teacher ‘do you think he’ll have to repeat?’ because that was my main concern. Without the education support program and his teacher I don’t think he could have stayed on track as much as he did.
“Being a teacher’s aide you know how much work they need to actually do, but he’s not going to do that with me at the end of the day. So seeing him sit down with Trish, one of the teachers from the education support program at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, was just a huge relief. It made me relax a lot more about him not falling behind. He always had a smile for Trish.” Mel said.
In the face of a situation no child should have to endure, Jett’s positivity and strength only grew, helping him to find confidence and break out of his shell.
“Jett was really anxious and shy in kindergarten and year one. I’m not sure how but through this whole experience he has really come out of his shell and he is just so positive. He doesn’t hang off me when I drop him off at school anymore. It’s just made him so much more confident and that probably has a lot to do with all the support that we have had.”
With his chemotherapy and radiation treatment now behind him and recent scans revealing his eye is looking good, Jett is happily back in school completing year two full time, playing soccer with his friends and constantly updating his mum on the NRL ladder (a little more often than necessary according to Mel).
Jett will continue to have check-ups every 6-weeks for the next year, which Mel explains sometimes the schedule of appointments is more daunting than the actual treatment. However as Mel states, “We don’t know what the future holds long-term but it doesn’t matter, he’s here, and that’s all that matters.”
Help us raise funds for kids with cancer like Jett so we can continue to help them during a time when they need it most.