One morning Frankie’s mum Jess noticed a lump on her daughter’s lower back and took her to the emergency room. What doctors found rocked their foundations.
Imagine the pain of hearing your two-year-old has a cancerous tumour and needs urgent treatment that will be tough on Frankie, Jess and the whole family. That has been the reality for Frankie, her little brother Sal, mum Jess and dad Steve. Frankie has weekly chemo and tests, plus trips every three weeks to Auckland’s Starship Hospital – an eight-hour drive. “Every week they are going for chemo and blood tests and every three weeks they have to travel from Hawke’s Bay up to Starship for treatments and scans, which makes any sort of routine or normality impossible,” says Jess’s best friend Aimee. Her illness isn’t what defines Frankie. Despite it all, she’s retained everything that makes her a great kid. Frankie is still the life and soul of the place - she is “hilarious”, says her mum - and is packed full of the type of sass that only three-year-olds can get away with. Frankie also loves cats, gardening, baking and Spider-Man. Those who love her are doing what they can to make sure she still has fun and finds joy in life, despite her situation – which is why Aimee approached Satan’s Little Helper to see what we could do, which instantly got our spidey senses tingling. We upgraded her old ‘tatty’ Spider-Man suit and sent along some Spidey colouring-in books and stickers as well. “She is loving them!” says Jess. “She absolutely loves stickers, so has pasted those to numerous surfaces as well as colouring in lots of Spidermen. Her suit is certainly an upgrade from her last one.” Thankfully, the family are taking things on the chin and making the most of a situation that would cause many to crumble while Frankie is responding to treatment like the tough little soldier she is! “At the moment she is doing really well, she is taking chemo like a champ, getting good results from her blood tests and MRI and is happily on schedule for surgery,” says Jess. It’s going to be a long road to recovery as Frankie’s has years of treatment ahead of her. But if she faces her challenges in the same style she’s already done, it won’t be long until this story has a truly happy ending.