On 16 July 2020, after displaying symptoms for a couple months that doctors couldn’t identify the cause of, our son Nolan, aged 6, was diagnosed with a posterior fossa tumour.
We were rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital where Nolan underwent major brain surgery on 18 July 2020. We were told the surgery was successful, with almost a full resection of the tumour. We were also told that Nolan has a type of brain cancer called Medulloblastoma and that as a result, there is another tumour on his spine.
“This is the beginning of a very long journey”, they said. If you know our family, you’re familiar with our journey so far. Four kids (2 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder) and a very busy home front.
Nolan and I have been separated from the family since July 16th due to Covid19 restrictions.
Since the surgery, Nolan has been surrounded by teams of doctors. He is having to learn how to walk again, sit up again, use the toilet again, communicate, and what I strive to achieve every day, to smile again.
Today (29 July) we saw the team at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to discuss the next phase of Nolan’s treatment; 6 consecutive weeks of daily radiation, receiving a general anaesthetic every time, in order to keep him still. A small break, and then 7 months of chemotherapy.
This is going to be incredibly tough both physically and mentally – for Nolan and all of us. It’s been advised by the oncology team here at the Royal Children’s, and also by the Peter Mac team, that during this process we stay within minutes of the hospital so that Nolan doesn’t have to travel far every day, and also has quick access to the hospital should he need it. For this reason, we have decided to set up a Go Fund Me page asking for support.
There are a lot of side effects connected to the radiation and it’s important that he be monitored during the six-week period. Being separated from the family has been heartbreaking for all of us. It really is a long road ahead; emotionally and financially.
The Patient Accommodation Coordinator at Peter Mac has recommended an apartment building, 8 minutes’ walk to the Peter Mac Centre, where a lot of patient families stay during treatment. This, however, is an out of pocket expense, and due to the duration of the treatment, is an enormous cost. We will also need to hire a wheelchair, cover fuel up and back from Geelong multiple times a week, taxis to and from the hospital, food, medications for Nolan and any other expenses that arise. There's also a chance Nolan and I will need to stay in Melbourne longer should a secondary cancer arise, which can result from radiation. Chris is currently not working due to a Silicosis diagnosis after years of stonemasonry work. He is caring for the other 3 children full time. The apartment will provide a safe and clean environment for the other children to visit us and a quiet place to start healing.
We are still processing all this.
Any donations would be greatly appreciated, and we'll keep everyone updated on Nolan’s progress.
Erin and Chris Hiotakis
(Nolan's mum and dad)
My name's Kate Robertson and I’ve known the Hiotakis family for nearly 7 years.
Erin and I are very close. We could finish each other’s thoughts before they even become sentences. We share everything together; the laughter, the tears, and the laughter through the tears (and the tears from laughter!). I have an 11yo son, and apart from him, have no other family in Geelong. That was until I met the Hiotakis crew. We are family. We look out for each other and support each other through every curve ball life throws (including this significant curveball).
And I have to give a special mention to Erin’s mum Trish, who recently referred to me as “her daughter by another mother”. Having lost both my parents in the last 6 years which was very traumatic, these words were the nicest thing I could hear. They way they love and care for my son Charlie is also invaluable. It’s incredibly comforting to know someone has their arms around my son and I, both literally and metaphorically.
Nolan (Noli) holds a very special place in my heart. When he was young and Erin worked part-time, I looked after him 1 day a week. Whilst my body may tell you I’ve only had 1 son, my heart will tell you I have 2. I’d do anything for Nolan.
Initiating this Go Fund Me was the least I could do, and I wish I could do more to support Nolan, and his family, through this.
The Hiotakis crew is my family.
DonationsSee top donations
- John Bourke
- Ian McHugh
- Zoe Guest
- Sean Samon
- Robert Caveney
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more