News

Families struggling with cancer cry out for more support

MATES: Mitchell Luders, 11, and his friend Steven Vesel, 10, formed a bond while being treated for neuroblastoma.
MATES: Mitchell Luders, 11, and his friend Steven Vesel, 10, formed a bond while being treated for neuroblastoma. Luka Kauzlaric

MITCHELL Luders, 11, and Steven Vesel, 10 are two mates with a special bond.

But unlike other boys their age who share an interest in football or video games, their friendship was formed as they both underwent treatment for a very rare form of cancer.

Neuroblastoma affects 40 people in Australia each year, with the majority of those being children under five.

Remarkably, despite doctors telling Steven's mother Kylee he was the third case of neuroblastoma in his age group they had seen in seven years, not very far away from their hometown of Calliope, the Luders family in Gladstone was going through the same ordeal.

After being diagnosed in August last year, Steven underwent four cycles of chemotherapy to reduce a 20cm tumour in his abdomen.

Mrs Vesel said she would like to see more awareness about the disease and other forms of childhood cancer.

"There is a lot of childhood cancer in Gladstone that people don't know about," she said.

"Getting these kids together and sharing stories would be great.

"When Steven had the thing on this stomach, he turned around and said 'that's been there for a while'…so to tell parents, to get their kids that if they notice something different to come out and let you know.

"We could have caught it a lot earlier, but we are still quite lucky that it hadn't spread anywhere else."

He is currently back in Gladstone after having the tumour removed, but Steven is due back in the city in March to see if all the cancer cells have been removed.

"(Relapse) is something I dread and I think the anxiety of scans all of the time, we're starting to feel that too."

Mitchell Luders, 11 and his friend Steven Vesel, 10 formed a bond while being treated for neuroblastoma.
Mitchell Luders, 11 and his friend Steven Vesel, 10 formed a bond while being treated for neuroblastoma. Luka Kauzlaric

For the Luders, fear of relapse became a reality when Mitchell's cancer returned after eight months of being in remission.

Mitchell's mum Rochelle said going through it a second time was difficult but the family of five was putting 'one foot in front of the other'.

"Being so far away from a city hospital, we get split up because we can't get treatment here, so now we have to relocate to Brisbane pretty much for the treatment," she said.

"I am home for a week this time, and that's the longest we've been home since June last year."

Although supported financially by the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, she said maintaining two households and the emotional toll of treatment and travelling quickly added up, and that was where a local support group could fill in the gaps.

"We're very well supported while we're in Brisbane, we have a whole team to look after everybody down there, but that's lost when you come back home because there's nothing here at all.

"There's nobody to bounce things off, or a nurse or social worker to pick up the phone and talk to.

"So I think, as a group, there's a lot we could do to support each other through that, and sadly there's enough kids with cancer in Gladstone to make that a real, worthwhile group, so that's the crazy thing."

Neuroblastoma

  • Occurs most commonly in children aged 0 to 5.
  • Is a solid tumour arising from nerve cells that run up a child's abdomen and chest into the skull following the line of the spinal cord.
  • Half of the tumours start in the adrenal gland above the kidney.
  • There are no clear environmental links.
  • Depending on the type, survival rate can be as low as 40%.

Information from neuroblastoma.org.au.

Topics:  cancer gladstone medical services health neuroblastoma



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

BREAKING: Car crushed after collision with tree in Gladstone

CRASH: A car has crashed in Gladstone.

PARAMEDICS are rushing to a car crash in Clinton.

'You s***': Gladstone carpark catfight over cheating claims

A catfight broke out in the Stocklands carpark.

"She had it in her head that I was sleeping with her husband...”

Gladstone man invents 'game-changing' machine for industry

MASTERMIND: Gladstone man Tim Straatmans has invented the UNIVAT, which could be a huge game-changer in the industry world.

IT TOOK years to plan and design it, and months to build

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: Bad Santa 2

Billy Bob Thornton and Brett Kelly in a scene from Bad Santa 2.

NAUGHTY Santa sequel falls flat.

Coldplay bathes Brisbane fans in sea of colour

Chris Martin, lead singer of British rock band Coldplay, performs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Coldplay are in Australia for a five-show tour. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Frontman Chris Martin drapes himself in Australian flag

Exciting move to bring life back to Gladstone CBD life

BUSKERS GET GREENLIGHT: Local musician Nathan Bedford welcomed the council's decision to allow buskers to perform on Gladstone streets.

GLADSTONE'S CBD will be given a kick start ahead of the holidays.

Sia, Keith Urban top Aussie Grammy nominations

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at the 50th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards

Beyonce dominates with nine nods for 2017 Grammy Awards

New gallery connects humanity and nature

One of Craig Parry's amazing images to be shown at the gallery.

Well known photographer to display one metre images

Hailey Baldwin: I don't understand Taylor Swift's squad

Hailey Baldwin has taken a quick stab at Taylor Swift and co.

Council opens up on 'secret' private development companies

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!