News

James fighting back

James Drewett.
James Drewett. Contributed

UNSTOPPABLE vomiting was the first sign a tumour was eating into the brain of healthy four-year-old Coutts Crossing boy James Drewett.

Difficulty walking, head pains and constant sleeping were the next symptoms Mary and Dave Drewett saw as they frantically sought answers for their boy in the weeks before New Year's Eve 2011.

By the time a Grafton Base Hospital paediatric doctor ran a CAT-scan which showed a tumour and fluid on the brain, James could barely walk.

"We were devastated and totally shocked," Mrs Drewett said.

The family had 10 minutes to pack up their lives before James was airlifted to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital.

Doctors operated on his brain four times during January and the operation to remove the tumour paralysed him.

"James couldn't even sit up in bed for weeks. Now he can walk and talk, but he can't walk in a straight line as he is unco-ordinated and has to have physiotherapy," Mrs Drewett said.

"His brain had to relearn everything; he was like a toddler, pulling himself up to stand and he was only saying da-da-da like a baby for the first few weeks."

Surgery was only the first step to destroy the cancer cells as James has endured 33 sessions of radiation therapy over six weeks, which were challenging on a growing boy.

"They have to accurately target the cancer cells all through the brain and down the spine. He was growing a little bit, so it made it difficult for them to be sure they were getting the exact same spot each time and he had to stay still for up to an hour," Mrs Drewett said.

Growing will become a new problem for James, as damage caused by the radiation on his spine means he will need growth hormones to help him grow.

"Unfortunately the radiation treatment he has had over his whole brain means he will have learning difficulties, such as memory problems and learning new skills." Surgery caused one of his eyes to turn inwards and his eye specialist has him wearing an eye patch over his good eye to train the damaged eye.

"They said this will keep your son alive, but unfortunately he will have all these side effects which you will have to manage."

When the tragedy struck, the Drewett family, which includes two-year-old Liam, dropped everything and has been in Brisbane all year. They have been living in accommodation arranged by either the hospital or the charity Childhood Cancer Support.

It's a long road ahead for the family as James starts four months of chemotherapy next week.

 

HELP JAMES

Friends will support James and his family with two fundraisers this Saturday, May 12:

  • Coutts Crossing Preschool Family Fun Day, 10am-2pm. Activities include a jumping castle, barbecue, games, face painting, market stalls and Miss Diane's head shave
  • Fashion parade from 2pm, Clarence Village Community Hall, 194 Turf St, Grafton. Parade by Go Girlz and More 4 Men with Ben Jenkins entertaining. Afternoon tea provided. Tickets are $15 from sponsors or at the door.

Topics:  brain tumour, grafton base hospital



Motorway delays after truck and car collide

Ipswich Motorway traffic at Goodna. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times

Woman assessed for injuries following peak-hour smash

WATCH: Police release CCTV footage of Goodna robbery

An armed robbery took place at the IGA in Goodna at 6am this morning (27-9-16).

Masked men armed with large hammer hold up store

FINALS CHAT: The AT80 team talk NRL and Bears vs Cutters

FINALS CHAT: Manager of rugby league Ipswich Brendon Lindsay joins co-host Anthony 'Bomber' Breeze, host Ben Wilmott and special guest Colin Scott this week on After the 80.

Grand final spotlight should be on NRL heroics

Local Partners

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Madonna poses naked in solidarity with Katy Perry

Madonna posted her own nude selfie on Instagram

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released