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HomeLifestyleNSW schoolgirl declared cancer free after raising $200,000 for ovarian cancer research

NSW schoolgirl declared cancer free after raising $200,000 for ovarian cancer research

“I’m coming home tonight.”

These were the four words NSW girl Tirion Wilkinson uttered when she told her siblings she was free of stage four ovarian cancer.

The 11-year-old was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three days before Christmas.

Since then, she has endured four rounds of chemotherapy and three operations.

Ovarian cancer is rare in children, according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

The disease is often not diagnosed until it is in late stages, which reduces the survival rate for adults to just 29 per cent, foundation CEO Robin Penty said.

But Tirion and her family received welcome news this week when a PET scan revealed she was cancer-free.

In a moving call with family, played on radio station 2GB, Tirion’s siblings ask: “Is the cancer all gone?”

“Yeah,” she says, as her family erupts into excited squeals and cheers.

Speaking to 7NEWS, Tirion said she was “relieved” when the doctor broke the news.

“I’m feeling good,” she said.

“I don’t have any more cancer.

“I’m really happy about it and excited.”

Dad Lyle Wilkinson said it was a hard road to get there.

“Her friends have been good and family … they’ve helped her through it,” he said.

“We’ve still got a bit of a road to go, but we’ll push through it and keep going.

“At the start of it when we found out with my daughter, we just knew we had to give 100 per cent and push on … so that’s what we did.”

Lighting up a nation

Unlike most ovarian cancers, Tirion’s was “exquisitely responsive” to chemotherapy.

“In adults that is not the case,” Penty said.

“Ovarian cancer is highly resistant to chemotherapy, and 80 per cent of women receive a recurrent diagnosis.”

Tirion made headlines last week when her best friend Chloe Mackenzie-Matteson shaved her head to raise money for the foundation’s research.

The pair had been joined at the hip with since they met in Year One at Yowie Bay Public School, with Chloe describing her best friend as “one of the best people I’ve met in probably my entire life”.

Chloe Mackenzie-Matteson and Tirion Wilkinson have been best friends since Year One.
Chloe Mackenzie-Matteson and Tirion Wilkinson have been best friends since Year One. Credit: 7NEWS

Together, the girls have raised more than $200,000 for the foundation, with the money to help fund research in detection, prevention and treatment of the cancer.

In adults, moving from adolescents and upwards, the five-year survival rate of ovarian cancer is 49 per cent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

“Most ovarian cancer diagnoses come in late stages, which reduces survival to 29 per cent,” Penty said.

“Funding for research for this generation and beyond is what’s needed to change that narrative.”

Penty said the girls’ donation was the single largest gift they had received from a community fundraiser.

“We’re over the moon and blown away by the power of these girls,” Penty said.

“We think they could light up a nation.”

Tirion said she was “really proud” of her and Chloe’s efforts in fundraising and raising awareness.

“Hopefully, it will help future women and girls to be let known earlier so they don’t have to go through the same thing as me in the future,” she said.

– With Sarina Andaloro

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