At first, he thought his backpain was being caused by a pulled muscle.
When his discomfort worsened and pain-relieving medication failed to make a difference, Grafton teenager Riley Croft knew something wasn’t right. He made an appointment with his local GP who promptly sent him for scans and blood tests.
When the results came back, the 15-year-old was summoned immediately to the Grafton Base Hospital Emergency Department. But by the time Riley arrived, he was paralysed.
Within hours, he was transported to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane via the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and underwent emergency surgery to relieve severe nerve compression at the base of his spine. Riley didn’t have a pulled muscle.
He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer which usually occurs in children and adolescences.
And an aggressive tumour was crushing his spinal cord. For the past several months, the brave teenager and his parents have been at Childhood Cancer Support, a not-for-profit organisation which provides families affected by childhood cancer with a safe and supportive place to stay in Brisbane while Riley continues to undergo treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma.
After chemotherapy initially proved unsuccessful, Riley is currently taking oral medication to slow the spread of his cancer. Describing his son as a fighter, Jamie Croft said Riley and the rest of their family are focusing on remaining positive.
“We’re just thinking positive, that’s all we can do,” Mr Croft revealed.
“We have received a lot of support, which is great, and my wife and I are very thankful, but we’re focusing on being positive for Riley.”
To help support Riley and his family, the Grafton District Services Club (GDSC) are hosting a Helping Hands Trivia Night at 6:30pm on April 17, to raise funds for the teenager’s ongoing medical expenses. Kristy Essex, Marketing and Functions Manager at the GDSC said as a community minded club, the local facility is more than happy to help raise funds for Riley.
“We were contacted by one of Jamie’s workmates who explained he was going through a tough time and if we were able to do anything to help,” she explained.
“The club is very much a part of the community and we were happy to become involved.
“Our hearts are going out to Riley and his family and we are hopeful of welcoming a large turnout on the night.
“All the money we raise will go directly to Riley.”
A table of eight costs $200 and nomination forms are available at the GDSC front desk. Alternatively, nomination forms can also be emailed, and payments accepted over the phone,
Anyone interested in participating in the Helping Hands Trivia Night is encouraged to contact the GDSC on 66 403 200 or email [email protected]
Riley’s family have also set up a GoFundMe page with a target of $20000. If you would like to make a donation to help Riley, please visit gf.me/u/zfwh7q
What is Ewing’s Sarcoma?
- A rare type of cancer which occurs in bones and the soft tissue surrounding the bones. Leg bones and the pelvis are the most commonly affected areas.
- It is more common in teenagers and young children.
- Males are twice as likely to be diagnosed than females.
- Symptoms include pain and tenderness around the affected area, weight loss, unexplained fatigue and fever with no known cause.
- The cause of Ewing’s sarcoma is thought to be a result of changes occurring within the cells of an individual’s DNA.