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Emily's Story

Emily Shackleton was just 9 years old when in a matter of six weeks she lost half her body weight, had severe mood fluctuations, severe headaches and was generally unwell.   She had tests and everything came back normal.   The doctor looked at her and said he would take her blood was too high to register on the machine!   Emily was then rushed to hospital where a lump was discovered in her stomach.   Subsequent scans showed this to be a tumour.   

Following surgery and testing, Emily and her family were told that the tumour was a benign phaeochromocytoma and that no further treatment was required but further testing disclosed that Emily had a gene mutation and that her father and sister also had the mutation.    Emily’s family were told it was very rare with not a lot of documented cases and that there was only a 10% that the growth would be malignant but four years after the first tumour was discovered, it returned in the same spot plus another on a rib.  These were removed but 12 months later the one on the rib came back and it was discovered it had been malignant and there was another five tumours as well.   Emily’s rib was removed but the five others remain.   

Emily has had radio isotope therapy and is now on a drug called Sutent.  There is no cure for her as yet but this drug has so far kept her condition stable.   

Emily will turn 17 in September 2014.

Not only has Emily and her family had to cope with living in a constant state of fear with an endless treatment regime, the outpatient medications, constant travelling to many different hospitals for treatments, time off work and cost of living imposed enormous financial stress on Emily’s family.    

The Olivia Lambert Foundation was made aware of the Shackleton family’s plight through a Social Worker at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and promptly approved an application for assistance from the family.    We like to think that our financial assistance has made the Shackleton family’s journey just that little bit easier to bear.  

To help the Olivia Lambert Foundation help other families living with childhood cancer, you can become a sponsor or make a donation.