Alex's Story

"The day we found out our son had cancer, our lives changed forever." - Nelly Theodoridou, Alex's Mum

The death of a child to cancer can be one of the most challenging life experiences a family will ever have to face.

That is why we need your help today to help us raise $34,450 so that we can continue to provide our essential bereavement support services. These vital services include professional counselling, respite accommodation, support groups and funeral assistance to families who have lost their child to cancer. Families just like Nelly and Chris’s, whose story is being shared below.

Alex with his siblings
Alex with his siblings just days before he became unwell


Our beautiful Alex was a cheeky little boy whose aim in life was to make everyone laugh. He was a natural-born comedian with the ability to put a smile on anyone’s face.” Those are the words of Alex’s mum Nelly, who seven years ago had the life of her family turned upside down when her three-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

The nightmare for the family of five started back in September 2014 when, after a month of suffering from a mysterious illness, Alex was rushed to hospital with symptoms of severe vomiting, dizziness, lethargy and stumbling.
After a series of tests, the doctors discovered fluid around Alex’s brain, causing intra-cranial pressure, and little Alex had to undergo emergency surgery to alleviate the symptoms.

Alex after chemotherapy
After chemotherapy


The surgery saved Alex’s life, but the worst was yet to come.

Following a biopsy and an agonising 10-day wait, Alex’s results came through, and every parent’s worst nightmare was realised. Alex was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare and highly aggressive type of brain cancer. Nelly said that from that day onwards, Alex’s life and that of her family changed forever.

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Following the devastating diagnosis, at just three years old, Alex endured multiple brain surgeries, each of which carried a high risk of complications. At the same time, Alex also underwent a gruelling regime of high-dose chemotherapy.

The stress on his parents and siblings, who spent weeks by his side in intensive care, were immense but with love and support from his family, the brave young man kept fighting.

Every parent knows deep down when something is not right with their child but nothing and nobody can ever prepare a family for the worst,” Nelly said, adding that she will never forget the day that she and her husband received the news that Alex’s condition was incurable.

Little Alex was given approximately 2 to 3 months to live before he would succumb to his disease.

During the last few months, Alex was able to enjoy some time away from treatment and live a ‘normal’ life. Together with his family he went to the circus, played at the beach and enjoyed time with his siblings, making as many precious memories as possible in such short time.

Bradley’s Place, our respite accommodation provides a space for families like Alex’s to take time out to make these precious memories together. We continue to provide this respite to families after they have lost their child to cancer, because of the support we receive from people just like you.

Alex and his family at Bradley's Place
Alex with his mum and his siblings at Bradley's Place


In all honesty looking back now I feel like there are two different worlds that exist within our world. The outside world that most people live in when things are ok, and the “hospital” world that we as a family and every other parent who has had a terminally sick child experience on a 24/7 basis. A surreal world in the paediatric cancer ward, where you see sick, pale children all hooked up to cords and monitoring machines. A world where nothing else is relevant and nothing else matters.” – Nelly

“It was just a devastating time in our lives. As a parent, how does one find the words to explain to a little child the unexplainable? How do you tell a three-year-old that what they are going through is not of any fault of their own and that the doctors and nurses are only there to make them feel better? How do you explain pain and suffering to an innocent little soul who looks at you confused and scared and can’t even comprehend or process what is really happening to them and their little bodies? All we could do is be there for him, show strength and courage and shower him with as much love as possible.” - Nelly who describes her experience at the hospital as surreal.

Our Counsellors provide free ongoing bereavement counselling to all family members including parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family. Our services are available to each family from the time of diagnosis and beyond, including bereavement, to support them through their whole journey. Our Counsellors offer face-to-face and telehealth counselling as well as group support to families just like Alex’s.

Following a 12-month battle with cancer, Alex passed away peacefully in his home with his parents by his side, seven weeks after celebrating his fourth birthday.

You can help to make sure no family will face their devastating cancer experience alone.

Make your donation TODAY

Alex in hospital
Alex in hospital

Watch Thomas’s Story

Watch this 5 minute film where Chris Hartley talks through his family’s journey after his son’s diagnosis of a brain tumour and the support he received from the Childhood Cancer Association.

View film

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