AT just three-years-old, George McNees is facing the battle of his life against an aggressive form of brain cancer.
George, who lives in Howrah, was diagnosed with cancer when he was 11-months-old after an MRI revealed a tumour the size of a golf ball in his brain.
Following surgery at the Royal Hobart Hospital, George was transferred to Melbourne where his family was based for the next 11 months of chemotherapy, stem cell treatment and radiation.
George’s mother Sarah McNees said it was hard to leave home and a network of family and friends for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
“I’d never come across another child with cancer before and I had no knowledge or understanding of the world we were about to become involved in for the rest of our lives,” she said.
“Seeing other families in similar situations and watching mothers lose their children is one of the most significant and heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.
“I’m trying not to live in the fear that George will relapse, but statistics aren’t in our favour.”
In light of their recent experiences, George’s family decided to become involved with Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The charity program helps sick children and their families by allowing them to take a break and find some fun and happiness during difficult times.
Since getting involved, George has received regular visits by Captain Starlight, a group of children’s entertainers who positively distract sick kids daily at the hospital.
“Captain Starlight became the family I needed at the time,” Mrs McNees said.
“They have an amazing sense of when parents need a bit more strength and help.
“When we go back to Melbourne the first thing the kids want to do is check into the Starlight Express Room – a medical and treatment free environment in the hospital where sick kids and their family can relax and focus on having fun.”
Mrs McNees encouraged other people to get involved in fundraising for a Starlight Express Room to be established at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
“The Starlight Children’s Foundation are helping families through the hardest and most difficult time you can possibly go through as a parent,” she said.
“They are creating something that makes your child feel special in the most terrible time of their life.”
Captain Starlight travels Australia-wide to help families and their children going through a range of illnesses and sickness.
In Tasmania alone, Captain Starlight entertained 550 sick kids in hospitals in 2017.
For more information about George, visit https://starlight.org.au/what-we-do/our-stories/kids-teens/george.
For more information on the Starlight Children’s Foundation or how to help, visit https://starlight.org.au/
Caption: George McNees, 3 with Captain Starlight.