Tom Dutton and Mitch Johnson

What is chemo really like?

What is chemo really like?

We're on the lookout for more PCHF Ambassadors!

We’re on the lookout for more PCHF Ambassadors!

PCHF Ambassador Tom shows us life behind-the-scenes at PCH.

Ever wanted to know what chemotherapy is really like? Tom, one of our incredible #PCHFKidTakeover Ambassadors, took us along for the ride during a round of chemo at Perth Children’s Hospital.

Back in April 2020, Tom’s parents, Hannah and Simon first started noticing changes to his health after a growing number of bruises began appearing on Tom’s shins.

Those unexplained spots and bruises turned out to be leukaemia – a type of cancer that affects white blood cells and prevents them from fighting infection in the body.

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Tom’s dad, Simon, said: “We then spent our first three nights at Perth Children’s Hospital in ICU, and the medical team were very concerned about how many cells he physically had in his body, as well as his kidney and liver function.  

“He was put on oral chemotherapy, and it was intense. Our coping mechanism back then was to just deal with it day by day.”

Fast forward to 2023, and Tom is doing well. Currently, he still needs to visit PCH monthly for chemotherapy, and is hoping to complete his last round later this year.

“He’s a lot better than he was in those early days. He’s been through some really harsh times during treatment, and had issues along the way, including blood clots. However, three years on, we spend very little time in hospital,” said Simon.

“When we did finally get to leave hospital and go home, it was bittersweet. Although we were looking forward to spending more time at home with all three of our kids, it was also daunting because we could no longer just walk out the door and ask for help if we needed it.”

Tom’s mum, Hannah said: “I think we’ve been relatively lucky. Which seems strange to say when you’re sitting in this situation. Tom’s such a resilient kid, and it’s amazing what we’ve learnt about him during the past three years.”

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