Cancer sufferer to shave head to raise funds for dying toddler
A selfless woman suffering from stage three cancer is putting aside her own battle to raise money for a toddler she’s never met.
Lil Tisdell was told on August 31 this year - the day of her 59th birthday - the shocking news, "You have cancer".
But the Canberra mother-of-two was moved while watching a news story about NSW toddler Kalani Ebbs.
The two-year-old was diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour on her cerebellum and brainstem at just six months old.
Kalani, from Dapto in Wollongong, underwent one of the most intense chemotherapy and radiation treatments ever delivered to a child in Australia.
However, an MRI scan last month showed a relapse and now Kalani has been placed on a clinical trial to stabilise her during her final months or weeks.
And so tomorrow, Mrs Tisdell will shave off the hair she has left to raise money for Kalani.
“I’ve had a good life. I’ve seen my two children grow up and I have two grandsons and another on the way,” Mrs Tisdell told nine.com.au.
“We have so many good things going on in our life. There’s so many more families so much worse off. We have a lot to be grateful for.
“But Kalani has known nothing better than going to hospital and having treatment.
“Every treatment would be so expensive. You don’t know how lucky you are until you see things like this. It’ll be nice to meet her.”
Kalani’s mother, Charlene, told nine.com.au she was amazed by Mrs Tinsell’s generous support.
“Lil is so selfless given her own circumstances,” Mrs Ebbs said.
“We’re hoping Kalani can help her through her tough times as well because Lil’s life has been completely changed.
“Kalani doesn’t know any better. This is all she’s known. It’s amazing that Lil is thinking about us and I hope Kalani will be able to meet her.”
It was in June that Mrs Tisdell noticed spotting and blood in her urine.
She went to her doctor and tests confirmed the cancer in her uterus.
Mrs Tisdell underwent major laparotomy surgery at St George Hospital on September 18 but two weeks later, pathology results confirmed she had stage IIIC uterine cancer.
She has so far had two of six chemotherapy treatments and will begin radiation early next year.
Her biggest worry this week has been whether her hair will keep falling out in chunks.
“I’m worried I won’t have any left but there’s some there so it will still make a difference for Kalani,” she said.
“I have all my wigs ready to go. I can be different every day of the week.”
Mrs Tisdell has been a hairdresser since she was 16.
She has some clients who are suffering from cancer and she is used to helping them with their patchy hair.
But tomorrow at midday at Ainslie Hair Inn, Mrs Tisdell will “begrudgingly” hand over the clippers.
Her teenage nephew, Timothy Williams, who has a head full of dreadlocks, will travel from his home in Wollongong to get them lopped off for Kalani.
“I’m looking forward to be sporting my new look,” Mrs Tisdell said.
Mrs Tisdell’s daughter, 34-year-old Sarah, told nine.com.au she was three months pregnant with her first child after two filed IVF attempts when her mother was diagnosed.
“How could this be? We don’t get cancer. That happens to other people,” she said.
“My news was put on the backburner then. But mum now has a reason to fight. She’s just tackling it one chemo treatment at a time.
“She’s had a good career and had 34 years with her hubby. She’s appreciated she’s lived.”
All money raised at tomorrow’s fundraiser will be donated to the Ebbs family.
Contact reporter Kimberley Caines at [email protected]