Alegra was born 19th September 2011. Her family and friends describe her a “beautiful soul –she was courageous, smart, gorgeous, kind, funny, loving, organised, appreciative, thoughtful, energetic, adventurous” – what you’d expect from most happy kids about to start kindy.
Alegra started to shows signs of a slight facial palsy and a few days before Christmas 2016 her family received the heartbreakingly diagnosis of brain cancer in her brain stem.
Our whole world changed, and since that day, we don’t remember a life without worry. We knew Alegra had a challenging road ahead of her.
Alegra was operated on by Dr Charlie Teo before the New Year. She was up and walking just hours after surgery, and sent home the following day with just Panadol. “It seemed like her body knew what it had to do.”
The radiotherapy treatment had reduced the size of the tumour and its progression quite dramatically. “All of Alegras doctors were amazed with her results.”
Alegra recovered relatively quickly and began a daily course of radiotherapy treatment for the next 6 weeks. She had no symptoms from the treatment, and a week in she began Kindergarten at PLC Sydney.
She loved her teachers, her friends and was so eager to learn something new each and every day. She didn’t miss a moment of school and excelled in many of her subjects. Alegra never once let her illness define her. She swam, played, danced and did gymnastics just like everyone else.
After her recovery we had such hope and promise from our brave little girl. She took each obstacle in her stride and Alegra made it seem okay that this disease lurked inside of her.
We had only just received these great results a couple of weeks before when Alegra started to complain of back pain. Our world was again turned upside down, for reasons we struggle to understand, something had changed and cells had become aggressive and travelled into her spinal fluid.
We were told it was a matter of days, but Alegra gave us seven more weeks. She was so strong, determined and had such a strong belief that she would overcome this too.
Alegra passed peacefully in her home, on the 7th October 2017, just 10 months after diagnosis, surrounded with all our love.
Even now there are moments in our day where we believe it’s almost time to pick her up from school.
Alegra was promised a good shot at life. To to be taken by such a debilitating disease is so cruel, especially since her mind and memory was still so clear.
“We have faith she is well and happy now, looking down on us and guiding her younger siblings, sister Emmanuela and brother Estevan.”
We thank everyone involved in her journey each and every day. We call them Alegra’s Army, all fighting for the same cause, an answer, further treatment options and most importantly a cure.
We wish the Charlie Teo Foundation much success. Dr Charlie Teo, his fellows and staff are a godsend—their steady hand, and even more so, their love and support throughout Alegra’s whole journey. They were committed and only ever a phone call or email away.
We hope to bring much needed awareness about this disease, and the sense of urgency for further funding to help researchers fight this.
My hope is that no other family feels this pain and no children or adults need to lose their precious lives.