New owners at Stawell’s Brix Hotel Marnie and Craig Rowden thought their daughter Matilda had caught the flu, but within two hours of having medical tests she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
The six-year-old was later diagnosed with a form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on May 6, 2015.
But after 795 days and 1060 doses of chemotherapy, Matilda had her last dose on Monday.
Proud parents Marnie and Craig said it was a surreal moment.
“We had been looking forward to it for so long,” they said.
“But we can’t get too excited because we know she still has a long way to go.
“At hospital we are always meeting parents whose kids have reached the end of treatment, but then their kids have relapsed- so it’s always in the back of your mind.”
Mr and Mrs Rowden have tried to make the process as “bearable” as possible for Matilda and said her bravery has been a shining light.
“Matilda has taught us a lot of things, but overall she has taught us resilience,” they said.
“She’s the toughest kid we know, through all of this she has kept smiling and kept her positivity- she is very courageous and so brave.
“Because of how well she has handled it, we have handled it a lot better.”
Mr and Mrs Rowden said maintaining a positive mindset was crucial in overcoming the ordeal.
“When she was diagnosed we said okay we have got a really long journey ahead of us and we have to make this as bearable as possible for her and us,” they said.
“We have seen parents who haven’t coped well and children pick up on that- a lot of it is about that positive mindset.”
Matilda’s final dose of chemotherapy has given hope to Mr and Mrs Rowden she can still experience a true childhood.
“She has lost two and a half years of being a kid,” they said.
“She has been locked up in a sterile environment and kept away from everybody else.
“Just someone sneezing or coughing on her costs us another six days in hospital.
“So now we have to keep remaining positive, look towards the future and let Matilda start being a kid again.”
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