When faced with extreme adversity, one can either decide it’s all too hard and give up or choose to focus on the positives and battle each day as it comes.
Lily De Haas and her family have chosen the latter. And in the midst of the toughest battle of her young life, Lily is fighting back.
Lily, aged seven, was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour and has been undergoing intense radiation therapy.
When first diagnosed a few months ago, Lily was given a zero percent chance of survival. Those odds have now risen to five percent thanks to Lily’s inspiring strength and courage.
The tumour is inoperable due to it being located on the brain stem, but that hasn’t stopped the De Haas family, or their local community from losing hope.
The De Haas’ are strongly entrenched in Riddells Creek’s tightknit community, which is located about 50km north of Melbourne.
As Lily’s mother Simone explains, “Everyone knows everyone in Riddells Creek.”
The community has absolutely rallied around the family and is doing all it can to help ease the financial burden during this time.
Fundraising efforts are well underway and the response has been incredible. A GoFundMe account set up in aid of Lily has so far raised over $46,000.
But the fundraising hasn’t stopped there.
The Riddells Creek Junior Mixed Basketball Association, of which the De Haas family are valued members (Simone is a committee member, Lily’s father Chris is a coach and Lily’s older siblings Joel and Brianna play), has helped to raise thousands more.
The basketball courts are the lifeblood of the Riddells Creek community, and that sentiment was further solidified as the Association hosted the ‘Hope for Lily Grand Final Day’ on 26 March.
Simone described the day as ‘amazing’.
Not only did the basketball community get behind the event, but the entire local community.
“There were lots of activities; jumping castles, massage therapists, barbecues, cake stalls, silent auctions and pony poop bingo.” Simone said.
The highlight of the day for Lily was when she received a participation medal, much to the delight of the crowd.
“She got a participation medal and she thought it was the best thing ever.” Simone said.
An incredible total of $10,122.90 was raised for the De Haas family on the day.
Simone admits she been overwhelmed by the support from the community – not just the fundraising efforts, but the love and care shown for Lily and the family.
“We wouldn’t have managed [without the community support], it’s been phenomenal and is very overwhelming in a very positive way.” Simone said.
“It’s been lovely, just to see a small community like this one, rally together and bring about some positivity for us and keep us going.”
“Whether it be calling in or dropping off a meal, sending a message, seeing us down the street or giving us a hug – it’s just been extremely positive.”
“I talked to families all over the world and they wish that they had what we have.”
The treatment Lily has been undergoing had taken away much of her strength, motor skills and voice, but on March 22nd a major breakthrough occurred.
Lily spoke for the first time in six weeks.
Simone said the emotions in that moment were ‘indescribable’.
“We finally feel like we’re doing something. Even the night before, I said to Chris, ‘I just need a sign’ and then the next morning she spoke and it was like heaven.” Simone said.
“To hear her voice and see her come back to life, she’s just our little miracle.”
As Lily enters the final days of radiation – her final treatment is on Wednesday – her health is improving.
“At the moment she’s in pretty good spirits.” Simone said. “In the last week, she’s got some strength back in her upper body and she can now hold her own neck up again.”
Once radiation is complete, the next stage of Lily’s journey will commence.
Simone explains that there are clinical trials and treatments all over the world that could be options for Lily.
But these options are not cheap, with some costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they are not covered by Medicare.
This is why the fundraising is so important and becomes even more critical in the coming months and years.
Every dollar counts and helps the family make the best choices for Lily as she battles through the toughest fight of her young life.
For Simone, the key has been positivity and she would like to thank everyone who has reached out to the family and offered support over this challenging period.
“Thank you to everyone. It’s not only our local community but people all around Victoria that are helping.” Simone said. “It’s just amazing to see the support.”
Link to register: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=265588
Alternatively, donations can be made via the GoFundMe page.
GoFundMe link: https://www.gofundme.com/vjyxpe-hope-for-lily
For updates on Lily’s journey, be sure to follow her Facebook page.
#TEAMLILY Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LilyDehaas/