Shannon and Christie-Lee’s agonising journey was the start of something amazing. After their baby boy was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2012, the family made an outstanding commitment to ensuring other children would not suffer as little Ethan did.
In partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute, Shannon and Christie-Lee have established the Ethan Davies Fellowship, which will facilitate collaborative childhood brain cancer research between the Institute and other research institutes around the world by supporting “inbound” and “outbound” visiting fellows.
The Telethon Kids Institute has a dedicated cancer research group and a world-class brain tumour research team who are working hard to find answers.
The generosity of Shannon and Christie-Lee, and their family and friends – together with ongoing community support – will make a difference to generations of children.
In January 2012, Ethan was diagnosed with ependymoma – a type of brain cancer. When the tumour was first identified, it was so large that it blocked the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in Ethan’s head and spine, causing him agonising pain. A week after initial surgery to insert a drain to relieve the pressure, Ethan endured a marathon nine-hour tumour resection performed by Dr Sharon Lee and her team at Princess Margaret Hospital. Amazingly, Dr Lee was able to remove approximately 98% of the tumour. Ethan survived the surgery and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Unfortunately, the size and location of Ethan's tumour and the unavoidable effects of its removal meant that he would have a long road to recovery. Initially, he was unable to even hold his head up or swallow his own saliva. The pain from the surgery was so intense that he needed extra morphine just to be turned over in his hospital bed. Problems with hydrocephalus – fluid in the brain – resulted in him spending many weeks lying down, attached to a drain and unable to move.
But over time, Ethan's determination took over. A programmable shunt was inserted into his head to manage the hydrocephalus and allow the drain to be removed. He began to sit up and try to move around. He was able to swallow better and showed signs of wanting to eat and drink again.
There are many ways that you can help make a difference for children with brain cancer by raising money for the Ethan Davies Fellowship.
Find out how by clicking the link below.
The Ethan Davies Fellowship was established by Shannon and Christie-Lee Davies in recognition of their son Ethan, who is a survivor of paediatric ependymoma. The Fellowship aims to enhance the research strategy of the Telethon Kids Cancer Centre by providing support for “inbound” and “outbound” visiting fellows to undertake collaborative childhood brain cancer research.
Fellowship recipients are asked to use these opportunities in part to establish collaborative links with paediatric ependymoma researchers worldwide for the benefit of the Telethon Kids Cancer Centre and the international cancer research community.
With the support of the Ethan Davies Fellowship, the Telethon Kids Institute hopes to accelerate the development and introduction of new and improved treatments to prevent and better treat this devastating cause of illness in children.
ETHAN'S BLOG FEED