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How a talking teddy-bear is helping this mum with cancer ...

Rebecca with her family

In late 2011 Rebecca Weeding married the love of her life, Robert, with their two gorgeous children Maddy (seven) and Cohan (two) by their side. She was 25-years old.

Two months later, in January 2012, Rebecca was diagnosed with astrocytoma, a slow growing 7.5cm inoperable stage two brain-swelling tumor, a malignant cancer. Incredibly Rebecca didn’t feel sick and the enormity of her diagnosis didn’t quite register until she told her family and friends.  Telling her dad and her seven-year-old daughter Maddy were the hardest.

The doctors told Rebecca that the tumour had been growing in her brain for the last ten years, and was most likely the cause of her constant headaches and blurred vision.

Rebecca immediately began treatment at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, five times a week for three months.  She was put on a steroid to try and reduce the swelling in her brain. The steroid combined with radiation, and a biopsy on her brain has had terrible side effects.  She lost all of her hair, her weight doubled and even now Rebecca suffers severe memory loss and seizures.

All this considered, it is the little things that Rebecca finds the hardest; not being able to drive her children to school, not being allowed to be left alone with her children (in case of a seizure), no being able to zip out to the shops to pick up bread / milk, not being able to bend down to give her young children a cuddle, or get down on the floor to change her young son’s nappy.  Rebecca felt completely out of control of every aspect of her life.

Rebecca required so much support during her treatment that her whole family unit moved in with Rebecca’s parents.  Rebecca describes Robert, her husband as her rock.

Rebecca and Robert tried their best to shield their kids from the turmoil, and tried to live as normally as possible throughout Rebecca’s treatment, opting to have night time radiation.  Each day’s routine was to remain as normal as possible, spending the afternoons / evenings in their usual dinner, bath, bed routine.  Only after the kids were tucked snuggly in their beds, Rebecca’s parents would mind the children while Robert would drive her the 30 min trip to Brisbane’s Mater hospital for her treatment. Robert then fronted for work every morning at 7am the next day.

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The scar on Rebecca’s head

During the course of Rebecca’s treatment she fell into a deep depression and it was during this time that Rebecca met Kylie Phillips, Mummy’s Wish Mums Support Worker.

“Kylie met me at hospital and was just so kind and understanding, she provided me with a goodie bag that contained so much valuable information in it, and the voice-recordable teddy bear was great” Rebecca said. “I sang songs to my children via this bear. My daughter Maddie loves the song Horses by Darryl Braithwate, so my husband and I recorded ourselves singing it to her.”

Mummy’s Wish also provided a $500 eftpos card that helped with the increased fuel costs of driving to her appointments each night to receive her treatment.

Rebecca has now finished her radiation treatment, and thankfully her tumour has reduced in size down to 6cm.  She is hopeful it will keep shrinking.  The past year has made her realize many things; that life is too short, to always be positive, be grateful for her family and to mend relationships.

It is a waiting game for Rebecca and her family now.  The doctors are very positive for Rebeccca, the cancer cells have all been killed off by the radiation, and will check that the cancer hasn’t returned in a schedule MRI in the coming weeks.

‘Mummy’s Wish’ is a charity dedicated to helping mums with cancer. This Christmas they’re asking you to buy a talking teddy bear to help bring a little bit of joy to kids with sick mums. 

Talking bears are just one way that Mummy’s Wish provides comfort and support to young families while their mum is undergoing cancer treatment. The bears given to children by Mummy’s Wish allow mums to record a special message that eases the anxiety of being separated from her while she is in hospital.

$29.50, buys two voice recordable teddy-bears. One for the child in your life and one which will be donated to a child whose mum has cancer. Orders close Saturday 8 December. Go to store.mummyswish.org.au

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