At fifteen, my life revolved around netball and the beach. I had grand ambitions to one day represent Australia in the sport I loved.
While playing netball, my knee was a constant source of pain, but doctors kept assuring my parents and I that it was only growing pains.
The issue was that two years on, these growing pains were not going away, no matter how many physiotherapy appointments I went to. After doctors performed yet another scan, I was told that I had a cyst deep in my knee joint, but this would eventually go away on its own.
Despite the doctors’ assurances, I opted to have minor surgery to remove the cyst because they said I could have two weeks off school, and being in year 10, I thought this was ideal!
A fortnight after I had my cyst removed, my parents and I got the call that we all needed to come back into the doctors for a follow-up appointment. It was during this appointment that we got the devastating news that I had a rare form of cancer, known as synovial sarcoma.
All I heard was the word “cancer.” I immediately thought, “am I going to die?” which to be honest I now know was a fair concern, rare cancers are the major causes of death in children under 15 years of age in Australia. One young person dies every four days as a result of a rare or less common cancer.
Synovial sarcoma is notoriously aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy, so my only real option was amputation.
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I remember waking up after the operation, looking at the little computer screen on top of the bed and seeing the reflection of the sheets. That day was one of the hardest, but it at the same time set me down the path I am today, a proud Australian gold medallist Paralympian, World Record holder, and mum to Max.