Jemima's Story

Jemima Leydon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, and unbelievably was only five years old at the time.

Jemima had been complaining of a sore stomach at dinner and when her mum reached across to feel her stomach, she discovered an unusual bump. After consulting with their neighbour, who was a GP, Jemima had an ultrasound the following morning.

On that same day, Jemima was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was rushed into radical surgery. That’s how quick a cancer diagnosis can be.

The Childhood Cancer Association supported the Leydon family from the moment Jemima came out of surgery at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and during her four rounds of chemotherapy.

To this day, Jemima still has her Elliot toy dog, which was given to her as she began her recovery on the ward. He stayed by her side during chemo treatments and accompanied her to all her medical appointments.

Jemima in hospital with Elliot

Jemima knows first-hand how a childhood cancer diagnosis never affects just the child, as it has had a huge impact on her family.

Understandably, the Leydon family were devastated by her shock diagnosis. However, support from the Childhood Cancer Association eased the experience for her parents and her younger brother.

After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2020 at the age of 19, she gained a new perspective on her childhood experience, as she was old enough to fully understand the effect of her diagnosis on family and friends. This second diagnosis has only increased her gratitude to the Childhood Cancer Association who were there for her family 15 years ago when they needed it most.

Jemima undergoing thyroid surgery

Jemima believes that her childhood cancer experience has shaped, but does not define, the person that she is today. She is 20 years old and studying Medical Science at Flinders University and in her spare time she loves dancing, watching musical theatre and playing netball. It is her hope to use her childhood cancer experience to help others and assist the Childhood Cancer Association in supporting other families affected by childhood cancer.

You can support families just like Jemima’s by making a donation today.

$40 = Gift an Elliot to a child with cancer, to help them on their journey

$80 = A weekend of respite accommodation for a family in need

$100 = Counselling for a family member impacted by childhood cancer


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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