Son’s laughter sparks hope in tough cancer battle
ELI Kent's laughter has been a real tonic for his parents, Jackie and Stu.
It's something they've not heard a lot of in the past couple of months as their brave boy battles cancer.
The 12 year old is in the latter stages of his sixth cycle of chemotherapy which, when complete, means stage one of his treatment is finished.
Eli was in February diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in his right ankle but a week later a full body scan showed the cancer had spread.
He is undergoing treatment at the Queensland Children's Hospital, and his family has relocated from Yeppoon to Brisbane to be with him.
Jackie said a PET scan several weeks ago showed some "good progress", which was a welcome relief after the original scans 12 weeks ago.
She said Eli continued to amaze everyone with his courage and determination.
Each cycle of his treatment involves two days of chemo in the hospital then a week off, one day of chemo in the clinic and then a week off, and then five days of chemo which involves a six-day hospital stay.
"It seems like a lifetime ago that this journey began for us but we seem to have somehow settled into the world of cancer treatment now," Jackie said.
"Eli is doing okay. He has his bad days, as we all do, yet somehow he finds the strength - with our help - to get back up and keep going.
"Only a few weeks ago, he had a shift in his mindset and started to reach out to friends again and start playing online when he feels okay.
"It was so good to see that and to hear him laughing again; I can't tell you how good that is to hear."
Jackie said that in stage two of the treatment, Eli would have an MRI and CT scan in mid-May to see how the chemo was working and to determine whether or what surgery might be required.
Stage three was 20 weeks of chemo, with radiation starting in May to focus solely on the foot.
Jackie said COVID-19 was having a big impact on the family.
"It was quite overwhelming at first and I still get overwhelmed … so I just try to focus on what we have to deal with as that is enough in itself," she said.
"We have been isolating now for well over six weeks. That means we spend our time either at the hospital or our little unit.
"We had family arrive in March from Adelaide to try to help us out but we made the decision to not see each other which has been hard."
Jackie said support continued to flood in from the Central Queensland community.
"We are still blown away that people already going through their own issues are still reaching out to us.
"We have received so many wonderful deliveries from care packages to food deliveries to gift boxes to Lego for Eli, which he loves.
"It really does lift the spirits and 'thank you' just doesn't seem enough.
"The support is amazing.
"Every day is another day closer to coming home. I cross off each day on the calendar so I can focus on that dream of getting through this."