The Southport community has come together to support one of their bravest residents, six-year-old prep student, Slater Clifton-Walker.
Slater was only a year and a half old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour – ependymoma posterior fossa – and has spent most of his life in hospital fighting this insidious disease.
Slater is now facing an outlook that no child or their family should ever have to face, as the severity and location of his tumour have escalated to a place where he only has a few months left to live, with no other treatment options available.
Forever a fighter, nothing can stop little Slater, as he’s started on a mission of making memories with his family.
His school, Musgrave Hill State School, have rallied behind Slater’s mission, and held a massive fundraiser dubbed ‘Hero Day for Slater’ on Friday 28 May, to help raise funds to support paediatric brain cancer research.
The day consisted of a hero parade with Slater’s fellow students dressed as their favourite superhero, a cheque presentation with the amount of funds raised, and plenty of other fun activities, with local legends such as Ironmen Ali Day and Matt Poole, Iron Woman Georgia Miller, Olympic swimmer James Roberts, and sprinter Bree Masters, throwing their weight behind the cause.
Emergency service personnel also be supported the event, with members from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Police Service turning up in uniform in support of Slater.
Money raised will go directly to the Children’s Hospital Foundation funded Children’s Brain Cancer Centre – Australia’s first paediatric brain cancer research centre that aims to improve the survival and survivorship for children with brain cancer.
Slater’s tumour is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and he’s now completely lost his hearing, and while he finds this frustrating, continues to wake up every day singing.
Slater’s mum, Bianca, said that the day was important not only for Slater to be a part of, but for his legacy.
“Slater has been so incredibly brave through his entire treatment, the way he’s handled the past few months has been nothing short of inspiring, and now we are just taking in every moment with him” Bianca said.
“He’s deteriorated a lot recently and is getting quite frustrated and angry which is absolutely heartbreaking. We wonder if he’s starting to feel really alone, and we’re worried that he doesn’t know why we aren’t fixing him.
“At the end of the day, he truly wants to help other kids who might be in the same position as him, and we are so grateful for Musgrave Hill State School for helping him to achieve that.”
Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Rosie Simpson, said it was community spirit like this that truly brings hope to families facing the devastating reality of paediatric brain cancer.
“Brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease, killing one child every nine days. We are so proud to be putting in the work to change this statistic by applying the best minds to brain cancer research,” Ms Simpson said.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the support from our community and seeing everyone come together for Slater – who truly is the most special and vivacious little boy – brings more hope to the researchers and the families facing this disease than people could begin to imagine.”