18 March, 2021
Chemo Finito for Gia
WHEN 4-year-old Gia Smith marked the end of her oncology treatment by ringing Bayley’s Bell, she and her family triumphantly shouted ‘chemo finito’.
When 4-year-old Gia Smith marked the end of her oncology treatment by ringing Bayley’s Bell, she and her family triumphantly shouted ‘chemo finito’.
When Gia received her final chemotherapy treatment on 1 March 2021 it was 850 days after her diagnosis of Leukaemia was made. During this time Gia received 132 intravenous chemotherapy doses at either The Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane or here in Cairns.
Gia’s mum, Regan Smith, spoke emotionally about the moment and what it means to the family.
“This is a huge milestone marking the end of Gia’s formal treatment, it’s a momentous event for us all as it signifies the end of travel and the family being separated,” said Regan.
“Ringing the bell means that Gia is now a normal kid. For her that is no more doctors, no more needles, no more nose tubes.
“For Karl and I, we feel like we can finally breathe again; for two and a half years we have held our breath and lived for every moment as it can all change so quickly. You rev high the whole time and don’t allow yourself to exhale.
“I’m not sure we know how to live a normal life but I’m looking forward to trying it.
“Gia is looking forward to one day fulfilling a dream to go to Disneyland with her big brother Oscar, simple things like going shopping to try on clothes, going to a playground for slides and climbing and attending birthday parties with her friends,” she said.
Denise Petersen, Regional Case Manager at the Children’s Oncology Clinic said it was always a moment of celebration when a young patient rings the bell to mark the end of their treatment.
“Children and their families need to celebrate the end of this very difficult journey which often started with a cancer diagnoses 2-3 years before, as is the case with Gia.” She said.
“It helps them move on to the next chapter of their life and enjoy every moment.”
A good friend of the family, Nonna Lorella, was touched by Gia’s illness and wanted to give her and other children a gift of love and encouragement. She crocheted dozens of teddy bears which she handed over to nursing staff today.
Lorella has included a card with each bear which says ‘this little teddy bear is a gift to let you know you are special and very brave.’
“Gia has really taken the special words to heart and believes she can do anything now; she’s the boss!” laughed Regan.