Georgia Russell dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She loves ballet and mermaids and the colour blue. But the 9 year old's life has been turned upside down. In August, she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called osteosarcoma. It begins in the cells that form bones and Georgia's was discovered in her femur, or her upper right leg. She had struggled with a sore leg for three weeks and was using crutches, hoping it would get better but it never did. A series of tests eventually revealed the shocking diagnosis.
Since then, Georgia has been forced to leave Pinewood Primary School in Mount Waverley, and her mother Anna has given up her job as a Teacher's Aid, so that she can be with her only daughter, 24 hours a day.
The course of treatment Georgia requires, is extreme.
She is currently on a 10 week course of intensive chemotherapy that includes long hospital stays. At the end of the course, her doctors hope she can have surgery. The operation to remove as much of the tumour as possible will be a delicate one, because it's close to the growth plate in her femur, which the surgeon must make sure is not touched or damaged.
After the surgery, Georgia will require another 8 months of chemotherapy. Her medical team hopes that after this, the tumour will be all but gone and she will be in remission. But if the treatment hasn't worked, Georgia faces losing her leg and a host of other life changing choices. The chemotherapy will also cause permanent damage to her heart and fertility prospects.
She is currently very scared and confused and keeps asking her parents "why" this happened to her, and what she did "wrong". At the same time, she understands she needs this treatment to help make her better again.
This little girl's father is a good friend and a much loved colleague of ours, at Network Ten in Melbourne. His name is Hamish Russell and he's a camera operator who shoots stories for Ten Eyewitness News as well as programs like Totally Wild.
He and Anna have been together for more than 20 years. They have a son Sam, who is 15. And they have Georgia. They finally planned to marry early next year, but have put their plans on hold because they want Georgia to be there beside them, fighting fit and healthy again.
We are organising a fundraiser for Hamish, Anna, Sam and Georgia on September 26 at The Arcadia Hotel in South Yarra from 6pm.
We have also set up this Go Fund Me page for anyone who can't make the fundraiser, anyone who has been touched by childhood cancer, and anyone who is touched by Georgia's story.
The money will go towards out of pocket medical expenses, unforeseen costs and even simple things, like hospital parking fees. But amid their shock at the fight Georgia now faces and the situation they find themselves in, they have insisted that any money raised which they don't require.. will be donated to the Reef Ward at Monash Children's Hospital in Melbourne, where Georgia is receiving her treatment.
Whatever you can spare to help Georgia and her family, will be appreciated more than you could imagine. Thank you.
*****This GoFundMe page is being managed by a committee from Network Ten in Victoria. Hamish Russell, Georgia’s father is an employee at Ten. The funds raised on this page will be transferred directly to Georgia’s family and they will be spent on out of pocket medical expenses, unforeseen costs and even simple things, like hospital parking fees. Any money raised which isn’t required for Georgia, will be donated to the Reef Ward at Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne where Georgia is receiving her treatment.
- STEPHEN RUSSELL
- Jann Wood
- Ohlund Lloydene
- Bambi Johnson
South Yarra, VIC