Kurt's Story

30 Nov 1999
Kurt and his mum, Elisa

Kurt is a happy five-year-old, who loves cooking with his older brother and being part of his big, loud and fun family.

As one of seven siblings, he was excited to start big school in the new year and make lots of new friends of his very own.

But when his dad Kieran, rushed Kurt to their local hospital with another suspected asthma attack, they never expected it to be cancer.

Kurt was transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick from their local hospital, where he started treatment for suspected pneumonia.

Soon after, an ultrasound revealed a large mass that was putting pressure on his left lung, causing it to collapse.

His right lung was doing all the work and the mass was also putting pressure on his little heart.

That night, Kurt was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer rarely found in children.

Kurt asleep in hospital

Kurt and his family’s world turned upside down that day. “Finding out that our son had cancer was an incredible shock,” said Kurt’s mum, Elisa.

Immediately, the family were introduced to Dr Draga Barbaric, who would be Kurt’s oncologist for the duration of his two-year-long treatment.

Dr Draga is a paediatric oncologist who treats children and adolescents with various types of childhood cancer.

The first seven months of Kurt’s treatment have been intense. During this time, he’s spent many days and weeks in hospital, often unable to see anyone but his mum and dad, confined to a hospital bed. Being one of seven siblings, those days are too quiet and slow for a BIG personality like Kurt.

Thanks to incredible supporters like you, Dr Draga has been there for Kurt and his family every step of the way.

“Dr Draga is an amazing doctor. When we first met her, she described everything to us so clearly. Where we were, what was ahead of us, and what we would face, it was terrifying at the time, but she spoke to us in words we could understand,” said Elisa.

Dr Draga is researching new treatments and how well patients respond to them, in hopes of better outcomes for children like Kurt, not just in Australia but around the world.

Specialist oncologists like Dr Draga are backed by the latest research and advanced technologies, so sick kids like Kurt can get the very best care.

Research indicates that with effective treatment, like that prescribed by Dr Draga, a child like Kurt with Lymphoblastic Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma has a 98% chance of going into remission – and back to experiencing the ordinary childhood they deserve.

Kurt has already had his childhood put on hold because of cancer. He missed so much of his first term of kindergarten, having spent most of the first few months of the year in hospital.

He hasn’t had the chance to be at school long enough to make friends with his kinder classmates or get to know his first ‘big school’ teacher.

“He’s spent the last eight months almost alone. He has his family of course, but he has no friends, he can’t have friends for risk of getting ill,” said Kurt’s dad, Kieran.

“Hospital becomes your world. It’s our new world. I don’t want to imagine having to go through it without the incredible medical team and the additional support we have here,” said Elisa.

Kurt is nearing the end of his intense treatment that kept him in the hospital for long periods of time. He will soon be able to go home and will only require a tablet each day for the next 18 months to help manage his cancer.

His hair has grown back and soon he will be able to go back to enjoying school. Kurt will get to do the ordinary things he knows and loves. He can’t wait to cook with his brothers again!

For some kids, childhood is far from what it should be. Your support will ensure sick kids get access to the best possible equipment and care, as well as research to give hope for a better tomorrow.

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