Paediatric Palliative Care Stories

We are grateful to the families who have generously shared their paediatric palliative care stories. These stories cover a diverse range of life-limiting conditions and stages of the palliative care journey. Reading these stories may be upsetting, however, we trust they will also help to raise community awareness of paediatric palliative care and assist families who may be having similar experiences understand that there are others who may also be experiencing the same journey.
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  • shareshare

    Maddie is part of our family

    In this story, we learn how the quality time Maddie – a Very Special Kids volunteer – spent with Marco, who has a rare genetic condition, and his younger brother Lucas, improved life for the whole family.

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  • shareshare

    A mother’s journey with a silver lining

    In this story, the grief of losing her daughter fuelled Suzanne Tunks’s desire to help other families in the toughest situations of their life.

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  • shareshare

    Mum celebrates her son’s life while remembering his death

    In this inspiring story, 17-year-old Sam Hurst declined palliative chemotherapy to treat his bowel cancer, and instead made the most of his remaining months. In this story, Sam’s Lorna Hurst celebrates Sam’s short but vibrant life and shares the factors that contributed to him dying a good death.

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  • shareshare

    Frangipani, flame tree, or lemon myrtle; what tree would you like to become?

    Before Dianne Rich’s son Ashley died, he made it clear he didn’t want to be buried. “I want to be free.” It wasn’t until she discovered the Living Legacy Forest, a beautiful parkland section of the cemetery that had a lake, shrubs and boulders, rather than gravestones, that she knew what to do with Ashley’s ashes.

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  • shareshare

    Shannon’s early death inspires support for others without access to after-hours specialist palliative care

    After a long fight with leukaemia, 19-year-old Shannon’s only wish was to spend her last days at home in her own bed, in rural Victoria. In this story, Shannon’s father Jeremy shared how his initial fear in caring for – due to limited after-hour specialist palliative care support – was calmed after receiving extraordinary support from a doctor, in the form…

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  • shareshare

    Of love and loss without palliative care

    In this story, Mary Brennan reflects on the death of her young son, Tom, who died of bone cancer in the early 1970s, when palliative care was unheard of. It was after Tom’s death that his brother Frank first considered studying medicine, and today works as a palliative care physician in Sydney.

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