Barely a fortnight ago, Dakota Rose was just like any other nine-year-old girl: carefree and happy.
The Queensland girl loved hanging out with her friends, riding motorbikes and playing netball on the beach.
Then one day she felt a strange pain in her side.
Just days later, Dakota was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a type of cancer that normally affects women five times her age.Before long, she had to undergo surgery to remove the 13cm tumour which had spread throughout her abdomen.
As you can imagine, the shock diagnosis has thrown Dakota’s family’s life upside down. Her mum Pam had to leave her job and move to Brisbane with Dakota so as she could be there to take care of her “little battler.”
But with bills to be paid and three other kids to feed and care for, Dakota’s mechanic dad Chris remained at home.
“They’re just like two lost souls at the moment, just trying to keep it together,” Dakota’s gran Gracie Cooper told The Brisbane Times.
While Dakota was one of the unlucky few to get ovarian cancer at such a young age (just 3% of cases occur in women under 30), her family have reason to be hopeful.
According to Dakota’s doctor, Dr Rick Walker, childhood cancers tend to be more treatable than adult ones.
Dakota has already begun chemotherapy and she’s expected to need at least another 18 weeks of treatment, depending on how she reacts to the treatment.
Childhood Cancer Support are providing accommodation near the hospital for Pam and Dakota, who needs to be monitored regularly.
But Gracie said keeping the bills paid and flying the rest of the family to visit Dakota is putting pressure on the family that they could really do without.
Gracie and Dakota’s older sister Grace set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to take the financial strain off their family.
“We’re trying to have as little financial stress for these guys so they can stick together as a family,” Gracie said.
The goal was $10,000 (£5,000), but wonderfully, they’ve managed to surpass that dramatically, raising an impressive $16,500 (£8,000) to date.
If you’d like to help them out further, you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/24cdpuk.
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