Boy’s smiling eyes hides painful truth
JOEL Goodman's smiling eyes mask a painful truth.
Just before this happy, fun, cheeky little boy's fourth birthday, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
After being diagnosed with a viral illness, having sporadic temperatures of 40C for no reason, and complaining of aches in his legs and not being able to walk, the family's GP ordered an abdominal ultrasound to find out what was happening to Joel.
Laurette Laurencont said the moment her and husband Dudley Goodman were told of Joel's diagnosis, the family's world changed.
"Within one hour my best friend was with my two girls, Joel's older sisters Kasey and Georgie, and I was at Townsville Hospital with Joel," she said. "He required urgent platelet transfusion and red cell infusion to keep him alive and well until we were transferred to Brisbane for urgent oncology treatment.
Just more than 48 hours since learning of the cancer, Joel and his mum were on their way to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital for treatment.
"We chose to relocate the entire family to Brisbane for what turned out to be 10 months in total," Ms Laurencont, a nurse, said. "The impact to our family financially has been huge. From day one I said to my husband `this will go on for so long that we need to tell the truth and try to be normal'. We surrendered all investments to achieve this, and now we can say that money doesn't matter but time with these kids does, especially in that situation."
Ms Laurencont said Joel had ongoing chemotherapy treatment in a three month roll, on plan from November 2016 until May 2019.
"It involves a lumbar puncture in Brisbane at the start of every three months, intrathecal chemotherapy, intravenous chemotherapy and a doctor review before all of this," she said. "Each month Joel receives intravenous chemotherapy daily and also steroid treatment each month, which contributes to difficult behaviour in day-to-day life."
Ms Laurencont said the activities organised by Children's Hospital Foundation were "priceless" - not just for Joel, but also his two sisters.
"There is nothing on the planet like the art of distraction for a child and their family, and just to make someone laugh and smile," she said. The family was sharing their story to help raise funds for the Woolworths Regional Wall Tokens Campaign which helps fund programs in hospitals.
Townsville Hospital Foundation General Manager Judy Higgins-Olsen said she was looking forward to another great result in 2018 with local shoppers 'digging deep'.
"This Woolworths Wall Token Campaign is a wonderful way for a lot of people to give a little," she said. "When we all give a little to our local community, it makes a huge impact, and knowing all money raised in this campaign remains 100 per cent local in North Queensland, we hope all Woolworths shoppers get behind this and buy a token or two each time you shop."