IF YOU noticed mailboxes around the region adorned with pink ribbons throughout the past month, you can be almost certain they were a tribute to eight-year-old Charlie Carr from Dudley, who passed away on April 15.
Diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just eight months old, brave little Charlie touched the hearts of many as she fought a long battle against the cancer that eventually claimed her life.
But Charlie has left her family, her friends, and her community with a lasting legacy to help find a cure for the insidious disease.
Led by her mother Melissa Carr, dad Brett, and 12-year-old brother Tom, a 50-strong team of family and friends will participate in the annual Run 2 Cure Neuroblastoma event in Sydney on June 14.
‘‘Team Charlie’’ has so far raised $7110.
‘‘Charlie did the run with us last year too – she did the one kilometre,’’ Mrs Carr said.
They were determined not to let the cancer win.
Determined to raise enough money to help researchers find a cure.
Determined to stop this happening to another family.
‘‘Charlie never complained about being the child that had cancer,’’ Mrs Carr said.
‘‘But she did say at one stage that she just wished her cancer would go away.
‘‘She was such a beautiful, caring child, that she would love it if no other child had to go through what she did.’’
Charlie underwent treatment for her stage 4 Neuroblastoma four times. Initially in 2007, and then again with each of her three relapses in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
She endured many cycles of chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation treatments, anaesthetics, scans and admissions to hospital.
‘‘No child should ever have to go through what Charlie has battled once in their lifetime, let alone four times,’’ Mrs Carr said.
Charlie had been an inspiration.
‘‘She just exuded this energy for life,’’ Mrs Carr said.
‘‘She could have chemo on an afternoon, and it would make her feel awful and sick and tired, and she would come home and go to bed, but the next day she would get up and go to school.
‘‘She made us get on with life.
‘‘When she was in kindergarten, she’d just come out of 100 days’ isolation after a stem cell transplant, but she ran all the races at the athletics carnival.
‘‘I was on the sideline thinking she was overdoing it, but she wanted to do it.
‘‘She came last in every race, but she ran every one with a smile on her face.’’
Their friends, family, the community, and Charlie’s medical team had been incredibly supportive.
While Mrs Carr had never considered herself a religious or spiritual person, she’d always had an intense feeling that Charlie had been sent to her for a reason.
‘‘Since Charlie has passed away – and even before, when we realised that we were going to lose the battle – I started to think that when she is not here my focus has got to be to help try to cure Neuroblastoma,’’ Mrs Carr said.
‘‘My little motivator is not here any more, that’s the trouble.’’
The $3000 raised at Charlie’s funeral has been split between supporting the paediatric oncology unit at John Hunter, and Neuroblastoma Australia.
Mrs Carr has also offered to volunteer for the small team at Neuroblastoma Australia.
To contribute to Team Charlie’s efforts to raise money for research into Neuroblastoma research, donate via run2cure2015.everydayhero.com/au/melissa-carr.