Family reveals toll cancer battle took as son gets all clear
The Kent family are slowly getting used to their “new normal”.
Parents Jackie and Stu and children Eli and Ella are settling back into everyday life at home in Yeppoon after a traumatic 2020.
Eli waged a nine-month battle with cancer after he was initially diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in his right ankle last February.
After 18 cycles of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, he was given the all-clear on November 12.
The family returned home late in November, greeted by a rainbow on the road and the words “Welcome home Kents”, a powerful symbol of the incredible support they received on their harrowing journey.
Eli’s rehabilitation continues and he is still on crutches, a source of frustration for the youngster who loves his football and cricket.
He has, however, found a new interest since starting Year 7 at St Brendan’s College.
“Eli’s got into ping pong,” Jackie explains. “The boys realised pretty quickly that he couldn’t go out on the oval so they suggested playing ping pong.
“He’s loving that, and he keeps asking Dad for a ping pong table at home.”
Jackie and Stu have both returned to work and Ella has started Prep.
While the regular routine returns, Jackie said it’s impossible to forget just what they’ve been through.
“It hit me pretty bad when I first came home, I didn’t go out for two weeks,” Jackie said.
“I think that for Eli and I it was a case of gradually getting back out into the world again, little steps.
“It was very daunting at first.
“It feels like we’ve been in a tornado and we’ve all been thrown out and have to find our way back again.
“It’s been a bit of a journey but it’s a lot better now.
“We’ve just got to take one day at a time.
“I don’t like to look back, it hurts too much, but there are some things you reflect on.”
Among them is the incredible bravery Eli showed – and continues to show.
“I’m just so proud of him. He’s out there and he’s finding his feet again,” she said.
“Some days are a bit challenging.
“Eli just wants to be with his mates, doing what they’re doing, and it’s been a bit hard for him but most days he’s pretty good.
“We hear him laugh and that’s just wonderful.
“His hair’s grown back, he’s got this beautiful soft hair now, and he’s got his feet into proper leather shoes.”
Eli will go back to Brisbane next week for his three-monthly review.
“We pray he continues to be cancer-free,” Jackie said.
“It’s a bit of a dark cloud still that hangs there but there’s not a lot you can do.
“We’re just focusing on the good and never taking a day for granted.”