When Nixon's mum Brodie was 32 weeks pregnant, doctors noticed a large lump on her baby's head during a routine ultrasound.
No diagnosis could be made without a biopsy, so the mum-to-be was transferred to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead immediately for close monitoring, and just over a week later, little Nixon was born. Brodie and her husband Nick were devastated when tests on their newborn showed he had a malignant tumour the size of an adult fi st growing on the side of his head.
Nixon was just one week old when he underwent a biopsy. The surgery was risky, as he could bleed out due to the invasive procedure his tiny body would endure. While the five-hour surgery was a success, it would be an agonising week-long wait before mum and dad received the results. When the biopsy results came back, they confirmed the family’s worst fear: Nixon was diagnosed with cancer. It was an extremely rare type of tumour known as a rhabdoid tumour. A few days later, at just two and a half weeks old, Nixon started chemotherapy.
In the coming months, little Nixon would endure 30 rounds of chemo, six surgeries, 12 blood transfusions and 11 platelet transfusions. “That time was such a blur for our family,” Brodie recalls. “We had a newborn who had cancer, and a toddler to contend with all while we spent more than 20 weeks living at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.”
After a couple of rounds of chemotherapy, to the relief of his family, his tumour started to shrink. Following four rounds of chemotherapy and at four months of age, Nixon had surgery to remove what was left of the tumour. He completed his fi nal six rounds of chemotherapy by January 2016 when he was declared NED (no evidence of disease). Since his operation to remove the tumour, Nixon has undergone numerous procedures to graft skin and heal his wound. These surgeries are ongoing.
Nixon recently had a follow up scan, and doctors are happy with the results so far. Nixon’s family are immensely grateful that past research ensured there were viable treatment options for their son. As Brodie sees it: “Nixon has come this far due to research. Research is the key to unlocking a cure and improved treatment options for children’s cancer. And we all need and dream of a cure!”