Wyatt's story

I had a really big cry to my mum, and I said, ‘I’m not losing my son.  I’m not doing that.  That’s not happening

- Jess, Wyatt's Mum

At three and a half years of age, Wyatt was enjoying going to daycare three days a week. His mum, Jess, worked as a Kindergarten teacher, while his dad, Alex, ran his own business. Then a bombshell rocked the family.


Wyatt was a very confident, sociable and loving little boy who Jess describes as 'a really warm little human’. “He’s just a really switched on, cluey, little old soul,” she says. “So many people tell me: he’s been here before.”   


The first sign of trouble was when Wyatt started sneezing, then developed a temperature. After a few days of fever, Jess took him to the GP, who told her it was a viral infection and there was nothing to be done.

With Wyatt appearing strangely “blank and vacant”, Jess decided to take him to the emergency department at their local hospital. "They told me he had influenza A and adenovirus – both quite nasty ‘flus − and that we just had to ride it out.”

Days later, the fevers were continuing, and Wyatt was coughing constantly and complaining of ear pain.  After more trips to the GP and the local hospital, Jess and Wyatt eventually ended up at Monash Children’s Hospital.

I remember thinking, what the hell? What are you talking about? Then it all went so fast from there.

- Jess, Wyatt's Mum


By this time, Wyatt had a rash all over him. After looking in his ears and noticing his eardrums were ‘huge’, the doctors decided to take some blood. When the results came back, Jess and Alex were told that Wyatt could have leukaemia.

Within a few hours of being transferred into the cancer ward, Wyatt’s right eardrum burst in dramatic fashion, followed by the left eardrum. After emergency surgery, he was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit. The next morning, the senior oncologist confirmed Wyatt’s diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.


Wyatt started induction therapy the next morning − a phase Jess describes as ‘really rough’. The heavy doses of steroids caused major problems, with Wyatt experiencing severe food cravings and becoming uncharacteristically aggressive.

“That Wyatt was a Wyatt I had never met, and never want to meet again,” she says.

Mercifully, Wyatt responded well to chemotherapy and by Day 29 was declared in remission. Consolidation therapy went better than expected, and there were no major side effects to contend with.

It’s hard to explain to people. They see Wyatt now and say ‘Oh, he’s better!’” But we still have over a year left of treatment.

- Jess, Wyatt's Mum


Now on 18 months of maintenance therapy, Wyatt continues to do well, though Jess knows they still have a long way to go. And much as she would like to return to work to help deal with mounting financial pressures, she can’t see that happening any time soon.

“Every time I take Wyatt to kindergarten, he ends up being admitted to hospital with the flu,” she explains. And after missing eight months of kindergarten last year, plus half of this year so far, she says he is “nowhere near ready” to start school next year.


Since becoming an ‘oncology mum’, Jess says the importance of childhood cancer research has become clear. While she recognises that enormous progress has been made in cure rates, she would love to see further improvement.

“We’ve got to get to 100%.  That’s got to be the goal.”

Jess and Alex are also looking forward to a day when chemotherapy is a thing of the past, replaced with more sophisticated treatments such as immunotherapy.

“Even if it’s not for our boy, it’s for someone’s baby. It could be Wyatt’s children. Who knows?”  

How you can help

Give a gift

By giving a gift today, you can make a difference to the lives of children with cancer.

Ways to give

Fundraising and events

Get involved in one of our events or create your own to help find better, safer treatments for children with cancer.

Find an event


Join our diverse community of businesses, philanthropists and gamechangers, determined to help cure childhood cancer.

Learn more

Share your story

Have you been touched by childhood cancer and would like to share your story? Please get in touch today.

Share my story

Your donation will fund research that will save young lives!