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Zoe with coloured card

Zoe Stanley, 5

In that moment, my daughter’s life had been cut short.”

In early March 2017, our beautiful only child Zoe Stanley was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare aggressive brain tumour that had no effective treatment.

The meeting

I still remember the day like it was yesterday. My husband and I had a meeting at 1pm in the visitors’ room on the surgical ward where our daughter Zoe was recovering from brain surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

We had to leave Zoe for this meeting which would determine her future. It was so hard to leave her. The next minute we looked towards the door and were greeted by about ten health care professionals; including Zoe’s beautiful lady neurosurgeon Juliet, two oncologists, nurses and more. Being a nurse myself, I just had this feeling that this news wasn’t going to be good.

The diagnosis

They told us, “Your child has brain cancer. Go home and make memories.” Our life had just been turned upside down in an instant. My heart immediately felt like it broke into a million pieces.

I remember going into complete shock. I could barely feel anything but helplessness and despair. I couldn’t think. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t make sense of anything they were saying – ‘Go home and make memories?’ – what the hell. How could I survive breast cancer, but our beautiful little happy girl, our absolute world, was about to endure radiation, multiple MRIs and no effective treatment.

The aftermath

I felt helpless. I wanted something to blame. Just to wake up from this nightmare. Give it all to me. Just take it away from our daughter. She’s so little and innocent. She has a life to live full of happiness and dreams. Not hospitalisation, radiation.

I felt numb and scared that I was about to lose the one and only thing that made my life shine. My Zoe. I was in tears, so was my husband. We couldn’t believe it.

How could life get so cruel? I just wanted to swear. I was so angry! And still am angry at brain cancer to this day.

Zoe Stanley’s diagnosis has been generously donated by her mum, Penny Stanley.