There is nothing purer than the bond between a big brother and his beloved baby sister. This story of a love between a brother fighting to keep his baby sister in his life is heart wrenching but an inspiring reminder of what true love really means…

Meagan and Laurence Collard lived a picture perfect life in Western Australia with their beautiful boys Franklin and Cayden. But the couple hoped for a baby girl to complete their family.

They felt like their dream was finally coming true when Meagan fell pregnant and discovered she was having a baby girl. Not only was the couple ecstatic but their sons Franklin and Cayden were overjoyed at the prospect of becoming big brothers to a baby girl!

The family was in full nesting mode as they shopped for pink clothes and decorated a beautiful nursery for the arrival of their angel. When the baby was born, she was lovingly named Piper Winifred by the couple.

Piper arrived in a home filled with nothing but love for her. As Piper grew, she hit every milestone a baby should hit at a normal pace.

Piper started vomiting, upon which her parents took her to a gastroenterologist. But when the vomiting turned into a fever, they also consulted a GP. Piper was initially diagnosed with an ear infection and was given medication to treat it.

But a month later, a similar episode took place. However this time, Meagan was more fearful because of something she had discovered.

Meagan had found a hard lump on Piper’s stomach which concerned her. This time when she took Piper to the doctor, the mother and professional both agreed that Piper’s liver seemed to be swollen and hence decided to get some blood work done.

As her blood was sent to the lab, the medical professionals taking the samples warned Meagan about the possibilities; HIV, hepatitis or cancer. Meagan knew it could not be the former viruses because she had tested negative for them when pregnant with Piper.

But the third possibility scared Meagan a lot.

The possibility of her daughter having cancer seemed incredibly worrying to Meagan, so much so, that she kept the information from the rest of her family so as not to worry them.

When the results came back, they confirmed Meagan’s worst fear; Piper had neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer most commonly found in infants. It develops from immature nerve cells which can be found in several parts of the body. The most common place for neuroblastoma to stem from is in the cells in the adrenal glands.

About 700-800 cases of neuroblastoma are reported in the United States every year. About 9 out 10 of these cases are diagnosed before the child turns 5-years-old.

That is the main risk group for this type of cancer; children that are under the age of 5 years. It is incredibly rare to find it in older children.

And in a similar case, Piper, at 11 months old was discovered to be at stage four. The cancer had spread from her adrenal glands, to the liver, lymph nodes, abdomen, chest cavity, and ovaries.

The family immediately opted to start chemotherapy and discovered Piper was at high risk. After five rounds of chemotherapy, surgery which included a stem cell transplant, radiation and immunotherapy; Piper seemed to be getting better.

Of course, that amount of treatment on an infant also meant that she experienced debilitating side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sore, as well as weight loss!

The parents were stretched incredibly thin as they had to juggled between multiple things. From hospital visits and stays to making sure their sons were taken care of as well.

Meagan recalls of her experience, saying “I always missed out on special things with them which was extremely hard at the time. You don’t want to disappoint any of your kids or treat one of them as more important than the other, but at that time Piper’s treatment was our biggest priority.”

The hardest part of everything was Piper’s stem call transplant which meant she had to be isolated from everyone for four weeks due to a compromised immune system. During that period, Piper had not been able to see her beloved and very concerned big brothers at all.

Piper was finally discharged from the hospital and spent Christmas 2018 at home with her beloved family.

But as weeks passed, things seemed to be taking a turn for the worse.

Meagan grew concerned when her daughter would refuse to walk due to pain, holding her tiny stomach in her hands and saying the word ‘ouch’ repeatedly. Meagan could not bear to see her daughter in so much pain and insisted to doctors that something was wrong.

The doctors dismissed the mother’s concerns saying Piper was just reacting because of discomfort from previous treatments. Finally, the doctors relented and ordered some tests.

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