Bec Hammond first realised something was amiss with her eldest son, Teale, three years ago after he had a fall at school.
- Teale Hammond is battling bone cancer for a second time
- He was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma when he was 10
- His central Victorian family has spent much of the past three years at the Royal Children’s Hospital
“He complained of a sore leg … I had a look and it looked bruised and I said ‘you’ll be OK’,” she said.
But she took Teale, who was 10 at the time, to a doctor when it hadn’t healed a week later.
He was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer the next day.
A biopsy confirmed Teale had Ewing’s sarcoma in his right fibula.
Teale, from the small rural town of Leichardt, near Bendigo, had months of chemotherapy, radiation and several surgeries to remove a tumour in his lower right leg.
He learned to walk and run again, alongside his three siblings.
Then, in November last year, the cancer returned.
It was metastatic, above Teale’s right ankle, with an additional cluster of cancerous cells in his right lung.
Teale had his right leg amputated, below the knee, on February 2.
“It’s healed up quite well,” the now 13-year-old said.
“Eventually I’ll get a prosthetic leg and then be up and running again.”
Ready for challenges
Teale has spent much of the past three years at the Royal Children’s Hospital, a two-hour drive from home, and he still has a fight ahead.
He has two more rounds of chemotherapy planned, having already had four rounds since November.
But the round of treatment Teale is excited about is a “really, really big one — the hardest chemo that they’ve got.”
“It’s gonna be the big wipeout — it’s gonna, hopefully, remove it for good,” he said.
Ms Hammond said Teale could be in hospital for up to six weeks after the treatment.
He has had stem cells harvested in preparation for the high dose chemotherapy, which will be returned to his body after the treatment to help with his recovery.
Teale and his family said they could not be more grateful for the help of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
“They saved him the first time around,” Ms Hammond said.
“They’ve just been amazing — I don’t know what we’d do without them.”
The Good Friday Appeal has raised more than $421 million for the Royal Children’s Hospital over 92 years.
Last year’s appeal raised a record-breaking sum of $22,328,154.
On top of Teale’s health challenges, the Hammond family is also fundraising via a Go Fund Me page to cover costs associated with their new van, after their car was written off in a crash several weeks ago.
Insurance and donations helped them buy the new vehicle, but Ms Hammond said it needed to be modified for Teale’s wheelchair.
“It’s a lot bigger than I thought — even my bigger electric wheelchair can fit in there,” Teale said.