Nevaeh's mum Jemima is not at all surprised her daughter wants to be a paediatric nurse when she grows up. "She's down to earth, very caring and always tries to help other people," she said.
11-year-old Nevaeh is a caring sister and she says she likes helping others because it's a nice thing to do.
Whenever she gets the chance Nevaeh loves playing outside, climbing trees and riding her bike. Jemima said the family are very close and the kids get on really well, in spite of the occasional tiff!
Sadly, two year ago on New Year's Day, Nevaeh's life was turned upside down.
Nevaeh woke up and was unable to move her right leg. When hours later it still hadn't improved, her worried mum and dad took her to their local hospital. An MRI revealed a tumour on Nevaeh's spinal cord and she was immediately flown by air ambulance to Sydney Children's Hospital.
It was so sudden; the family were in shock.
One minute Nevaeh was a healthy happy nine-year-old, and the next minute she's in surgery for five and half hours having a tumour removed.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
Her neurosurgeon removed most of the tumour, but there was still a significant amount fused to her spinal cord, and Nevaeh was confined to Intensive Care. Sadly there was more tragedy to come. Nevaeh was diagnosed with a high-grade Glioma (Grade 3 Astrocytoma) and weeks after her diagnosis, she began radiation.
This type of spinal cancer is very rare in children, and Jemima said nothing could have prepared them for the diagnosis.
You never think it could happen to you, and when it does it's very scary and very exhausting.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
Nevaeh started radiation and chemotherapy straight away, and so began a gruelling 18 months of treatment and physiotherapy.
The family live nearly 400km north of the specialist hospital, so were faced with the agonising decision to relocate to Sydney.
"We had to move because we couldn't afford to rent at home (in northern NSW) and live in Sydney. One of the hardest decisions we made was pulling Nevaeh's younger siblings out of daycare and school, so we could all be together during Nevaeh's treatment," Jemima's Dad, Shay said.
There was nothing more important than keeping the family together, so the Starlight Express Room became their haven during long hospital stays.
Jemima describes the Starlight Express Room as an amazing escape for families with sick kids.
We spent a lot of time in the Starlight Express Room, and it meant so much to us to have a place to get away together and feel like we weren't in hospital.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
And when Nevaeh couldn't leave her bed, Captain Starlight brought the fun to her which helpe take her mind off everything she was going through.
Captain Starlight made hospital a much happier place for not only Nevaeh, but for her younger brother, Dante, and younger sister Amalia too. Face painting and Nintendo were their top Starlight Express Room activities to pass the hours while their sister bravely faced treatment.
And now there's something extra special on the horizon that's bringing more happiness to the family.
Nevaeh's been referred for a Starlight Wish, and she's so excited to be going on a dream family holiday.
"We've never been on a boat, so my Starlight Wish is to go on a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef with my family," Nevaeh said.
Jemima said after the incredibly tough few years they've had, the wish means the world to the whole family, and something Nevaeh has been anticipating for the last year.
We'd never been on a big holiday before and we don't get to spend a lot of quality time as a family, so to get us together for a whole week will be great.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
In the lead up to her Starlight Wish, Nevaeh's been busy researching the Great Barrier Reef and has been watching documentaries about marine life. She can't wait to see a starfish up close and hang at the cruise pool, while her siblings are so excited to check out the cruise kids club and zipline!
Nevaeh's Starlight Wish will transport the family to a world away from hospital and treatment and give them some much-needed fun and happiness, and create family memories to last a lifetime.
Jemima is so grateful for the generosity of Starlight supporters in granting her daughter's wish.
Starlight means so much to us, we can't thank you enough for your support.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
Well, thanks to Starlight supporters, Nevaeh's Starlight Wish came true in December!
Her dream family holiday gave them all a fun escape far away from hospital and treatment. The look of excitement on Nevaeh's face as she boarded the stunning P&O Cruise ship said it all! The week-long cruise was an adventure the family will never forget.
Thank you for Nevaeh's Starlight Wish. It really means a lot to us.Nevaeh's mum, Jemima
Our warmest thanks to P&O Cruises for helping us grant Nevaeh's dream family holiday!
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