Telethon child has positive message

TIM SLATERSound Telegraph

Brave Esperance youngster Tahlia Polmear is the regional face of this year’s Telethon after battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia since last October.

Tahlia, 11, returned to Esperance last month after undergoing extensive treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children for 10 months.

Tahlia stayed at Ronald McDonald House with her parents Anya and Mathew and brother Kester following her diagnosis on October 12.

“We were all up there for about three months before Mat and Kester returned to Esperance,” Anya said.

“It has been very stressful for us being apart for so long.”

Anya said the services PMH provided were essential for regional people.

“There is no paediatric oncology or haematology done outside of PMH so it all has to be treated there,” she said.

“We are encouraging all regional people to get behind Telethon to raise funds for the PMH.

“The hospital needs it, we’ve had situations where there have not been enough beds and the waiting area has been overflowing.”

Tahlia has undergone lots of treatment, including intravenous chemotherapy over the first nine months and weekly or fortnightly lumbar punctures, with chemotherapy drugs injected straight into her spinal fluid.

She is having oral chemotherapy and steroids and antibiotics to help ward off infections.

During the early stages of treatment Tahlia became seriously ill, losing about 25 per cent of her body weight.

While at the PMH, Tahlia has been involved in an international research program aiming for a cure without side effects.

“They don’t know about the bone weakening, the immune system weakening, the constant infections and the possibility of brain damage.”

Tahlia is enjoying being back in her Year 5 class at Nulsen Primary School and doing normal stuff with her friends after being away for most of the year.

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