News

James fighting back

James Drewett.
James Drewett. Contributed

UNSTOPPABLE vomiting was the first sign a tumour was eating into the brain of healthy four-year-old Coutts Crossing boy James Drewett.

Difficulty walking, head pains and constant sleeping were the next symptoms Mary and Dave Drewett saw as they frantically sought answers for their boy in the weeks before New Year's Eve 2011.

By the time a Grafton Base Hospital paediatric doctor ran a CAT-scan which showed a tumour and fluid on the brain, James could barely walk.

"We were devastated and totally shocked," Mrs Drewett said.

The family had 10 minutes to pack up their lives before James was airlifted to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital.

Doctors operated on his brain four times during January and the operation to remove the tumour paralysed him.

"James couldn't even sit up in bed for weeks. Now he can walk and talk, but he can't walk in a straight line as he is unco-ordinated and has to have physiotherapy," Mrs Drewett said.

"His brain had to relearn everything; he was like a toddler, pulling himself up to stand and he was only saying da-da-da like a baby for the first few weeks."

Surgery was only the first step to destroy the cancer cells as James has endured 33 sessions of radiation therapy over six weeks, which were challenging on a growing boy.

"They have to accurately target the cancer cells all through the brain and down the spine. He was growing a little bit, so it made it difficult for them to be sure they were getting the exact same spot each time and he had to stay still for up to an hour," Mrs Drewett said.

Growing will become a new problem for James, as damage caused by the radiation on his spine means he will need growth hormones to help him grow.

"Unfortunately the radiation treatment he has had over his whole brain means he will have learning difficulties, such as memory problems and learning new skills." Surgery caused one of his eyes to turn inwards and his eye specialist has him wearing an eye patch over his good eye to train the damaged eye.

"They said this will keep your son alive, but unfortunately he will have all these side effects which you will have to manage."

When the tragedy struck, the Drewett family, which includes two-year-old Liam, dropped everything and has been in Brisbane all year. They have been living in accommodation arranged by either the hospital or the charity Childhood Cancer Support.

It's a long road ahead for the family as James starts four months of chemotherapy next week.

 

HELP JAMES

Friends will support James and his family with two fundraisers this Saturday, May 12:

  • Coutts Crossing Preschool Family Fun Day, 10am-2pm. Activities include a jumping castle, barbecue, games, face painting, market stalls and Miss Diane's head shave
  • Fashion parade from 2pm, Clarence Village Community Hall, 194 Turf St, Grafton. Parade by Go Girlz and More 4 Men with Ben Jenkins entertaining. Afternoon tea provided. Tickets are $15 from sponsors or at the door.

Topics:  brain tumour, grafton base hospital



Plan for Aboriginal cultural centre on Fishos site

The Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club fell into liquidation last month.

THE Aboriginal Land Council is planning a cultural centre

Immigration scam targeting Woolgoolga residents

police generic

POLICE are warning Woolgoolga residents to be aware of a phone scam

Free-to-air broadcast a boost for Rally Australia

SMALL SCREEN, BIG ACTION: This year's high octane action from the Kennards Hire Rally Australia in November will be seen on free-to-air television.

Coffs Coast's own Rally Australia to be televised on popular network

Latest deals and offers

What's on the big screen this week

Toby Kebbell and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur.

AN OLD classic returns to the big screen with a new young star.

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep