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Shepparton girl marks end of cancer treatment

By Tara Whitsed

There was a sound of a different kind ringing out from Goulburn Valley Health’s children’s ward on Thursday.

Brave Shepparton girl Phoebe Wilson shook a ship’s bell with all her might, marking the end of 52 weeks of chemotherapy.

Dad David Wilson said Phoebe had received the treatment from both GV Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital.

“We’ve been looking forward to ringing the bell for 52 weeks,” he said.

“It’s a tradition for kids who finish their treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital.”

Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Wilson said he decided to get a bell for GV Health so Phoebe could have the experience there.

He said the bell would remain in place for any future children who completed chemotherapy at GV Health.

David and Phoebe Wilson with one of the main treatment nurses from GV Health, Ronnie Antonello. 

Phoebe said she could not quite believe she had finished her chemotherapy.

“It’s a huge relief,” she said.

But Phoebe admitted she would miss the incredible staff at GV Health, who had become like a second family to the Wilson family with Phoebe's mum Jennifer and sisters Lana and Juliet also regularly attending the health service.

“We’d really like to thank all the staff at GV Health and in particular the four nurses who looked after Phoebe: Ronnie, Ellie, Noeleen and Britt,” Mr Wilson said.

“And particularly a special thanks to Ronnie, who has been with us most of the time. We see Ronnie as being a really great friend now.

“Thanks to Helen who helps to look after Phoebe’s sister and a big thank you to Kerrie in admissions.

“And to the doctors who checked on Phoebe every week, particularly Dr Prasoon.”

Mr Wilson also thanked the Shaw, Barca, Moore, Giles and Pearce families among others for their support with the school pick ups and baby sitting when the family were attending medical appointments.

“We’d also like to thank the Goulburn Murray Credit Union and TatMilk for their support,” he said.

Phoebe said she had had the "best nurses ever" during her care.

David and Phoebe Wilson.

Mr Wilson also thanked Camp Quality, which helps kids aged 0 to 13 who are dealing with their own diagnosis, or the diagnosis of someone they love, such as a brother, sister, mum or dad.

“She’s already been on one camp,” he said.

Phoebe also thanked organisations such as Koala Kids and Red Kite, who had also provided the family with support.

Mr Wilson said it had been a huge journey for the family and it was not over yet.

“We’ve still got to get regular blood tests and MRIs at the Royal Children’s Hospital,” he said.

“She’s got a port that will be taken out in six months and she will need to have operations on her left leg to extend it.”

Mr Wilson also gave a huge thank you to the Royal Children’s Hospital, which had been a part of Phoebe’s journey since the beginning.

Today marks the annual Good Friday Appeal, which raises much-needed funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

For more information about this year’s appeal, visit goodfridayappeal.com.au