Pink wish lives long for Jordy
Eleven years after she had a liver transplant, teenager Jordy wants to be there to help kids going through their own cancer journeys.
There are little reminders etched in ink over 19-year-old Jordy’s body. Reminders of a time long ago, as a 7-year-old, when she was diagnosed with cancer. The medical journey which followed ultimately led to Jordy needing a liver transplant.
The tattoos include a cancer ribbon behind her ear and three birds on her collarbone. Her mum Jaye used to be filled with hope whenever she saw a flock of birds during Jordy’s treatment.
On Jordy’s arm is a tattoo of a robin. Robyn was Jordy’s nurse in Melbourne during her liver transplant.
Robyn would sit down and talk to Jordy, helping to make her feel more at ease and less consumed with her transplant.
Diagnosis shakes family's world
Jordy remembers doing calisthenics as a young girl and feeling a lot of pain. Her GP sent her to the hospital, where tests revealed a stage 4 cancerous tumour in her liver had spread to her lungs.
“For me, because I was so young, I didn’t get it,” Jordy said. “It must have been so scary for my parents to watch their 7-year-old child be so sick.”
Mum Jaye was by herself when doctors told her the bad news.
“I remember the day; I’ll never forget it,” she said. “I still wake up at night in sweats sometimes about that day.
“The doctor told me it was a tumour, and it’s stage 4, and I thought ‘okay four, so it must be out of 10, so that’s not too bad’. I had no idea at that point that four was the worst stage.”
When intensive chemotherapy was unsuccessful, Jordy flew from her Adelaide home to Melbourne to get a new liver. Her eighth birthday was only a few days before her transplant.
“I remember the trip to Melbourne was pretty scary,” Jordy said.
“I was very sick at that point. Even just to fly was scary as my body wasn’t functioning the way it should have been.”
Needing 48 meds every two hours
Jordy returned to Adelaide with the hope life would become more normal. With her were 48 medications to be taken every two hours. She didn’t leave the house for three months as she adjusted to her new liver.
Her confidence was also affected, worried as she grew older about crowded places and getting sick again.
“As I have got older, it has taken a much bigger toll on my life,” Jordy said.
“Having cancer and being in the hospital, you never know if it will come back, so you don’t want to do anything to increase the chances of it returning.
“Having a liver transplant, I can’t have as much fun as everybody else my age; that’s one of the biggest challenges.”
The day everything turned pink
Helping Jordy stay positive through her medical journey was Make-A-Wish Australia.
Jordy wished for a bright pink laptop and a party with friends at a cupcake shop.
“I’m a big pink person,” Jordy said.
“As well as the pink laptop, the shop was full of pink tablecloths and everything else pink. I had seven friends come, and it was the best.
“I still have the laptop. I don’t use it because it’s 11 years old, but I think I will have it forever. It’s like a light from that whole journey, and when I look at it, I think ‘that was a really good day’.”
Jordy wants to give back
The power of her wish has only grown stronger in Jordy’s mind over the years.
“I want to help someone just as Make-A-Wish helped me,” she said.
“If I can do that, I feel like I have done my part in life.”
Jordy has dabbled in raising money for various charities, but her passion is with Make-A-Wish, where she hopes to start volunteering.
“I would love to talk to kids in the hospital and make them feel like they have a friend and tell them not to give up,” Jordy said.
“It’s such a dark time, and I get it how horrible it is, but you look for a light, some positivity.
“There’s hopefully always a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mum Jaye said it was no surprise Jordy felt strongly about ‘giving back’.
“I think her ideal job would be to work with kids who are going through the same journey she did,” Jaye said.
“Her resilience, going through what she did, was just incredible.
“She always does come out on top; bless her.”
I would love to talk to kids in the hospital and make them feel like they have a friend and tell them not to give upJordy liver cancer
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The Wish Journey
How a wish comes to life
Make-A-Wish volunteers visit each child to capture their greatest wish, getting to the heart of what kids truly want and why. This profound insight is part of what makes Make-A-Wish unique, giving children full creative control and helping to shape their entire Wish Journey.
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In the lead up to the wish, we take each child on a journey designed to build excitement and provide a welcome distraction from medical treatment. Anticipation can be incredibly powerful, helping to calm, distract and inspire sick kids at a time they need it most.
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