Violet's story

Doing the cancer walk with your child is not all roses… it’s hard to stay positive and look at the upside.

- Craig, Violet’s dad

In November 2015, at just six years old, the life that Violet knew suddenly changed. She now faced a world of hospitals, needles, and seemingly endless doses of medication that made her feel sick.


Violet had been complaining of tummy upsets and aches and pains for several months, but everyone thought it was just growing pains. In November 2015, an ultrasound picked up the real cause – a tumour the size of a fist near her left kidney. Her official diagnosis was Stage 4 neuroblastoma.

The cancer was all through her body. It was in her skull, her jaw, her spine, her legs and her bone marrow was also affected. No wonder she felt sick.

- Craig, Violet's dad

Violet smiling on hospital bed during treatment


Colleen and Craig weren’t prepared for how quickly Violet would deteriorate. Their sunny, sweet girl was being ‘eaten up’ by this terrible illness. Two weeks after being admitted to Lady Cilento Hospital, Brisbane, the pain in her legs was so bad she couldn’t walk. Violet’s treatment began immediately with seven rounds of chemotherapy, as well as a nine hour surgery to remove most of the tumour and her left kidney. The next few months the family were by Violet’s side as she underwent radiation therapy and immunotherapy.

Living with cancer

It was a grueling new way of life. Craig and Colleen juggled school drop-offs with bedside vigils and complicated medical procedures. They were awake in an instant in the middle of the night to help Violet as she endured the side-effects of her treatment.

Violet smiling after treatment

It’s like having a newborn baby again – the nappy changes, the sleeplessness, the bad dreams.

- Colleen, Violet’s mum

Violet with family after treatment

The new normal

Family dinners at home became a thing of the past. Violet’s appetite was completely destroyed by the cancer and the medication, so she had to be tube fed. The constant demands of Violet’s medical regime, the emotional strain and the day-to day cares of life took their toll on everyone. Craig took extended leave from work, while Colleen put her studies on hold.

Life is very different, it’s all about survival. We will do anything we need to, to help our precious daughter get better.

- Craig, Violet's dad


Children with cancer have an all-consuming passion for life and Violet is no exception. Violet took up roller-skating and was determined to not let cancer stop her having fun. Craig and Colleen worked hard to lighten the load on their family, going to extraordinary lengths to make Violet’s day brighter. After two years, finally treatment stopped and Violet was able to head back to school.

Cancer may have stolen a good chunk of Violet’s childhood, but it has not taken her spirit. In truth, this journey has only served to help mould and shape her into the amazing little human that she is today.

- Colleen, Violet’s mum


Unfortunately not long after completing treatment, Violet relapsed. Over the past few years, despite intensive treatment, Violet experienced several relapses, as her cancer became more aggressive and resistant to traditional therapies. Through it all, Violet’s spirit never wavered. She loved music, making the nurses sing, dance and rap to her tunes.

The research Children’s Cancer Institute is doing will make a real difference. One day, they will bring us a cure. We need to get behind them and support them.

- Colleen, Violet’s mum

Violet's legacy

In October 2021, Violet sadly passed away surrounded by her loving family. In her difficult final months, despite feeling her sickest, Violet’s spirit shone the brightest. Her selfless determination to help children diagnosed with cancer in the future was inspiring. Violet handcrafted her very own crocheted pocket elephants to sell online to support our research. Violet inspires us every day to achieve our vision of finding a cure for all children with cancer.

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