CQ family's experience shows widespread impact of cancer
WHEN someone is diagnosed with cancer, the shock, stress, and heartache create waves through an entire family.
It's something the Grange family from Dululu are still coming to terms with, even though nine-year-old Madelyne Grange has now finished her cancer treatment.
Madelyne was only 17-months-old when her mum Janelle felt a solid lump on her daughter's right hip as she changed her nappy.
The toddler had been in pain in the nights leading up to the shocking discovery, but doctors hadn't been able to find a cause.
It was October 2011 when doctors gave the heartbreaking diagnosis: Madelyne had multiple cancerous tumours on her kidneys.
She started chemotherapy that week.
Madelyne was the second youngest of six children. Her younger sister Olivia, now seven, was just two-months-old at the time.
Janelle stayed with Madelyne in Brisbane, while her husband Matt struggled to keep the family's small trucking business going.
He would work and spend time with his daughters at home, then drive to Brisbane to support his wife and Madelyne.
"It was an impossibly exhausting, emotional, financial and highly stressful period that almost brought us to breaking point," Matt said.
"We literally had to start all over again when Maddy got back home and we're still playing catch up."
Janelle's mum Judy dropped everything and left her husband in Emu Park to stay at the Grange's Dululu home, organising meals, night feeds and school runs.
Last year, Madelyne finished her last treatment for Bilateral Wilms Tumours.
She's had three-quarters of one of her kidneys removed, gone through five chemotherapy cycles, had 12 days of radiation, and survived 41 anaesthetics.
In 2015, Madelyne was the face of Rockhampton's Relay for Life. This year, the Grange family will be honoured with the same title in recognition of the wide-reaching effects a cancer diagnosis has.
Chair of 2019 Relay Talitha Dodson said the family was able to access free accommodation in Brisbane while Madelyne went through treatment.
It's centres like this which benefit from Queensland Cancer Council's fundraising.
"We hope the Grange family story will open the public's eyes and help them understand that while research and patient support is a vital reason to donate funds to Relay, support for the peripheral fall out that sits heavily on the shoulders of our carers is an equally powerful reason," she said.
"It's why we celebrate both Survivors and Carers each year at the 2pm opening ceremony. We welcome members of the public to it and to the very moving candle-lighting ceremony at 7pm."