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




Gulaptis: Greyhound racing ban a 'human tragedy'

Greyhound racing has been a large part of Australian culture for many years. This photo essay explores a night at the greyhounds. It tries to capture the sights, sounds and atmosphere of this well known past time. Photo Contributed

"It’s a human tragedy to see good people lose their jobs"

Phone scammers doing the rounds in Clarence Valley

Telstra offer five top tips to help businesses avoid falling prey to phone scams.

"I might be 80 but wasn't born under a gooseberry bush"

Suspected South Grafton vehicle arson being investigated

News

One car burnt beyond recognition, another in front of a house

Latest deals and offers

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, Buddy Guy on 2017 Bluesfest bill

Patti Smith is one of the headline acts confirmed for Bluesfest 2017.

Patti, Billy, Buddy and more to headline five-day festival

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Morgan Freeman asks: are we alone? Why do humans exist?

Morgan Freeman in Through the Wormhole. Photo: Discovery Science

Question all you thought you knew, on Foxtel.

You are going to Falls for this music line-up

CONFIRMED: Local artist Bernard Fanning is part of the line up for Falls Festival Byron Bay.

The line-up and ticket purchase details have been announced.

Cheap Fraser Coast island drops its price

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