Our precious Luca, at only 3 years old, may not yet understand the magnitude of the news that our family received when she was admitted into Perth Children’s Hospital on 4th May; our lives had been completely turned upside down.
The days were a blur, but in time we would learn that her brain tumour was ATRT (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour) an insidious, aggressive brain cancer. All cases of this rare tumour are devastatingly grade 4. This news will leave some of you with many questions, so let me take a moment to share Luca’s journey thus far.
My sister Brooke, Luca’s Mum, presented to the GP with concerns as Luca had started vomiting after breakfast and had been a little unsteady on her feet. What was to follow, was nothing short of her worst nightmare. After examination they were sent to Perth Children’s Hospital where she has been ever since.
Three days following her admission, Luca underwent 7 hours neurosurgery to remove a significant tumour pressing on her brainstem and cerebellum. Luca was in ICU until she had stabilised and was able to transition to Neuro Ward 2A. Her rehabilitation progress has been up and down. Luca’s next hurdle is to be able to sit up unassisted and walk again. Hopefully she’ll reach these milestones soon in order to go home before the treatment rollercoaster that is to come.
On the 2nd of June, Luca will commence 7 months of intensive treatment consisting of high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Given she’s so young, treatment will be conducted under a general anaesthetic requiring her to reside in hospital for the majority of this time. Luca is susceptible to recurrence, so regular MRI scanning forms part of the protocol. Unfortunately, treatment options may be drastically reduced should the cancer reappear at this stage.
This journey has been particularly challenging for the family due to the restrictions imposed with COVID-19. Their isolation will likely continue into the foreseeable future, due to Luca’s vulnerability as she will be immunosuppressed.
Many have asked for ways you can help, which has prompted the creation of this page so that we can all to support Luca at this time. Funds raised from this page will assist Luca’s family to provide the full-time care that she needs on this journey. Every little bit, no matter how small, helps. The first goal will be to purchase a dedicated pram.
It’s hard to believe that less than a fortnight ago Luca was at home seemingly well doing what she loves, dancing. The family have been truly humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support already. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
This fundraiser was set up for Brooke, Scott, Emmy and Luca McIlroy. All funds are being sent directly to their account. Any unneeded funds will go to children’s cancer research.
**This page will be regularly updated with Luca's progress**
- Larissa Kneissl
- Margaret Martin
- David Woolley
- Liz Griggs
- Charmaine Drummond
Organizer and beneficiary