After Cherish-Rose Lavelle’s mom Louise noticed a change in her child’s personality, she feared that something was wrong. So, when her daughter began experiencing stomach pains, Louise rushed her to a doctor, who informed them that Cherish-Rose might be pregnant. However, the truth turned out to be much more serious than that.
By the time she was 11, Cherish-Rose was growing into a bright and bubbly pre-teen. The little girl from Hervey Bay, Australia, had bags of energy and was always putting on a show in front of her friends and family.
However, towards the end of 2017, Cherish-Rose’s mother Louise sensed that something was different about her daughter. Speaking to the Fraser Coast Chronicle in January 2018, the concerned mom revealed, “Over the last two months, I noticed my little girl had changed.”
Explaining her concerns, Louise continued, “[Cherish-Rose] was not the normal happy, singing little girl. She’s very theatrical and has lots of personality, but then all of a sudden she was always tired and didn’t seem as happy.”
Her motherly instincts told Louise that something was wrong. So, when Cherish-Rose started losing weight rapidly, Louise suspected that her daughter might have begun starving herself. “I thought she was suffering an eating disorder from being bullied for being overweight,” Louise told the Daily Mail in January 2018.
Things came to a head one Friday afternoon in January 2018. Louise had been working at the thrift store that she owns when Cherish-Rose began complaining of discomfort in her stomach and back. “She was in a lot of pain, so the next day I took her to the doctors,” her mom told the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
It was then that it became clear that Cherish-Rose was in some kind of serious trouble. Her doctor was so concerned by her symptoms, in fact, that he referred her to Hervey Bay Hospital. There, it was discovered that the 11-year-old had a large mass in her stomach.
The lump was so large that Cherish-Rose’s doctors initially believed that she could have been pregnant. She was subsequently flown by plane to Brisbane, where the mass could be properly investigated. And that was when Louise’s world fell apart.
Doctors discovered that Cherish-Rose was not pregnant after all, and nor did she have an eating disorder. Instead, she had a horrifying 1.5 stone tumor growing on her ovaries. And the cause was a rare kind of germ-cell cancer.
Needless to say, Cherish-Rose’s diagnosis left her mom devastated. “When I was told she had cancer, I couldn’t stop crying. It broke my heart,” Louise told the Daily Mail. In her interview with the Fraser Coast Chronicle, she added, “You always hear of families going through similar things, but you never think it will happen to you.”
Thankfully, though, there was something for Louise and Cherish-Rose to be positive about. With the right kind of treatment, doctors were confident that they could cure the little girl. “Now I’ve been told that it is curable, I am so relieved,” Louise admitted when speaking to the Daily Mail.
Nevertheless, Cherish-Rose still had a long and arduous road to recovery in front of her. In order to remove her tumor, doctors would first have to shrink the mass using chemotherapy. After that, the little girl would undergo surgery to eliminate the growth completely.
“She had a procedure done to make an opening for the chemo to go into rather than it going into her arms,” Louise told the Fraser Coast Chronicle. “The chemo will shrink the tumor rapidly in two weeks so it can be removed.”
Since it was a scary time for Cherish-Rose and her mom, Louise was relieved to have a good support system surrounding them. “She’ll lose her hair and have to go through all of the yucky stuff,” Louise said. “But she has the support of her family and friends and the amount of support from the community has been incredible.”
Because of her illness, though, Cherish-Rose was unable to start a new year of school in January 2018. As a result, she would need to be homeschooled until she had recovered, meaning that her mom was forced to give up her business in order to care for her child around the clock.
But for Louise, every sacrifice was worth it if it meant helping Cherish-Rose recover. “Although she still has a long journey ahead, it’s comforting to know she has a huge chance, and she’ll go back to the bubbly and happy girl she was before,” Louise explained.
And thankfully for Cherish-Rose and her mom, it didn’t take long for the little girl’s treatment to work its magic. After numerous rounds of chemotherapy, by February 2018 her tumor had shrunk by almost 18 pounds. This meant that she was able to leave hospital in March 2018.
Speaking to the Fraser Coast Chronicle that same month, Cherish-Rose said that she was happy to be home as she found hospitals “boring.” But unfortunately for the young girl, her treatment wasn’t completed just yet.
That’s because doctors decided to shrink Cherish-Rose’s tumor even further before they operated. “They want every trace of the tumor to be gone,” Louise explained. “But we have had such great support in the meantime. We’re so grateful to the community and to everyone who has supported us.”
With Cherish-Rose’s darkest days hopefully behind her, her mom hopes that her story will make others more vigilant when it comes to their children’s health. Although Louise knew that something was wrong, she had no idea that her daughter’s symptoms were signs of cancer. “This is something I want parents to be aware of,” she told the Daily Mail.