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



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Man in critical condition after Stanthorpe accident

A 77-year-old man is freed from car after two-vehicle crash on Britannia St in Stanthorpe.

One driver critical after accident on Friday at Stanthorpe

Ute found in river after being "stolen" from Warwick school

A ute in the Condamine River at the Grafton St Bridge in Warwick on Sunday morning

Ute pulled from Condamine River on Sunday morning

Toddler airlifted after foot partially amputated by mower

RACQ LifeFlight was called to Stanthorpe after a young boy suffered a foot injury when he fell from a ride-on mower.

Stanthorpe ambulance called to property after ride-on mower accident

Local Partners

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!