Brave 11-year-old made decision to lose cancerous finger

Zoe Cirson, with her mum Toni, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancerous tumour of the bone.
Zoe Cirson, with her mum Toni, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancerous tumour of the bone. Tom Huntley

AS SHE stared down at her hands, 11-year-old Zoe Cirson announced she was glad the doctors took away her finger.

When her mother Toni asked why, she expected Zoe to say it was because it took away the cancer.

"Because now I'm a little different," Zoe replied.

That's when Toni knew Zoe was strong enough to beat her disease.

Zoe was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a cancerous tumour of the bone, in her finger in July 2011.

After 12 weeks of chemotherapy in Brisbane, Zoe was given the option of having radiation or having her finger amputated.

She bravely decided to lose her finger because it gave her a better chance of beating the cancer.

"Zoe is a smart kid," her mother Toni said. "That is an amazing decision for a 10-year-old to make.

"She doesn't care what other people think."

After her finger was amputated Zoe had to face another 22 weeks of chemotherapy. She returned home only five days before her 11th birthday.

It's been about nine months since Zoe has been in remission and life is finally starting to return to normal for the Cirson family.

Toni said Zoe was doing exceptionally well now and had started Year 7 at Gladstone West State School.

"Zoe has been enrolled in the Ronald McDonald Learning Program to catch up with her studies," she said.

"She's one of the school leaders and she has even started playing the viola again.

"Losing a finger hasn't affected her playing at all."

The thoughts and prayers of the community, many of you complete strangers and still unknown to us, gave us a sense of security and helped to lift our spirits and keep us strong.

According to Toni, the whole family, including Zoe's father Andrew and two brothers Steven and Lucas, have learnt to appreciate the little things.

"It's opened our eyes and made us better people," she said.

"The little things that used to annoy you don't matter anymore."

A message to Gladstone from Toni Cirson:

OUR beautiful, vibrant and astute 10-year-old daughter Zoe was diagnosed with a Ewing's sarcoma in her finger on July 7, 2011.

This threw our life into a whirlwind of hospitals, oncologists, blood transfusions, chemotherapy and a roller coaster of emotions that none of us could have ever imagined.                     

Zoe Cirson has been in remission for about nine months.
Zoe Cirson has been in remission for about nine months. Contributed

Zoe never lost her joy for life or her thirst for knowledge. She amazed me every day with her fortitude and determination, and was ironically my strength at times when the situation felt so overwhelming.

Zoe completed her treatment in late May 2012, and was able to return home in June just in time for her 11th birthday. It was the best present ever for all of us.

I wish to thank the Gladstone community for the fundraising, donations and emotional support given to our family at this time.

The financial help was invaluable to us as it allowed us to maintain our two households whilst Zoe was in treatment.

As we went from a two wage household to almost half a wage during this time, the help was both needed and extremely appreciated.

The thoughts and prayers of the community, many of you complete strangers and still unknown to us, gave us a sense of security and helped to lift our spirits and keep us strong.

We are fortunate to be back home together and with our healthy girl, and blessed that we have such a wonderful community around us. It really was the little things that helped get us through.

Topics:  cancer editors picks gladstone health

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