Bella's battle: Brave two-year-old fights cancer
BELLA Bates is two years old. She's had brain surgery eight times and nearly died on the operating table.
Her fight to live is an incredible story.
Bella's mum Robin Berthelsen (inset) said her daughter (pictured) was diagnosed with brain cancer in September last year.
"When diagnosed, it had taken over the back quarter of her brain," she said.
"She endured four brain operations in the first week she was diagnosed. She nearly died a couple of times."
Bella then underwent multiple rounds of high-dose chemotherapy and went back for surgery in February.
She then had two scans which showed she was clear.
The family moved to Brisbane for Bella's treatment but returned to Gladstone in June.
Devastatingly, after a routine scan in August, a re-occurrence of the cancer was found.
Bella went back into surgery for the sixth time but the operation was not successful.
Ms Berthelsen said that's when the family sought out renowned surgeon Dr Charles Teo.
Bella had two rounds of surgery in Sydney last week and is now back in Gladstone.
"She's now had eight surgeries and she's doing amazingly well," Bella's mum said.
This Sunday, Ms Berthelsen will take part in the Noosa Triathlon.
She aims to raise awareness for childhood brain cancer, something that's touched her and her family in a terrible way.
There will be 23 people, including Ms Berthelsen, in eight teams wearing Bella The Brave uniforms.
The uniform will raise awareness and money for The Kids' Cancer Project.
Ms Berthelsen said after her daughter's first surgery, Bella was left mute, paralysed down her right side and couldn't sit up or swallow.
"She had to learn all of those things again," she said.
"She's now a normal two-year-old.
"If you were looking at her, you would be hard pressed to realise what she's been through."
Throughout the whole ordeal, Ms Berthelsen said she realised the options for treatment for children with brain cancer were extremely limited.
That's the reason Ms Berthelsen is taking part in the triathlon as a cyclist.
"The point of it is to raise awareness for paediatric brain cancer, it kills more children than any other disease and nobody knows that, unless you've walked this journey," she said.
"We also wanted to raise some funds for the Kids' Cancer Project."
With so much going on in Ms Berthelsen's life, anyone could forgive her for being caught up in day-to-day life.
But when asked why she put together this fundraising event, Ms Berthelsen said she wanted to make a difference.
"It would be nice to be able to help the cause in some way, and to be able to help either Bella's life or another child or their family that's going through this," she said.
"It's a nightmare, so if we could find a cure that would be amazing."
Right now it appears as if last week's surgery was successful but the cancer is aggressive, and Ms Berthelsen said they did not know the outcome, so her daughter would keep fighting.
To donate to the charity go to www.everydayhero. com/au/ and search for Bella The Brave.