IT WAS when Thomas Beattie, 7, began slurring his speech at his sister’s birthday party that his parents became worried.
He had complained of headaches and tiredness before but looked healthy and robust, just like his twin brother.
Shannah Kennedy and Andrew Beattie took Tom to a doctor only to later be told news no parent wants to hear.
Their son had cancer.
His headaches had been caused by a build up of fluid in his skull from a tumour growing over his spinal cord.
“He was diagnosed the day after school finished last year,” Mr Beattie said.
A Beanies for Brain Cancer fundraiser organised by Victoria Point State High School principal Scot Steinhardt has raised more than $2000 to help people like Tom.
All the money raised will be given to the Mark Hughes Foundation, which was set up to support brain cancer patients and fund lifesaving research.
“It’s a worthwhile cause,” Mr Steinhardt said.
Mr Steinhardt, who lost his brother Dave to the disease, said not many people knew how aggressive brain cancer could be.
He said his brother, a 50-year-old casino chief executive studying law, was diagnosed about five weeks before he died in July last year, leaving his wife Donna and two children behind.
“There’s really been no progress in treatment for the past 20 years,” he said.
About 190 kilograms of sausages were cooked today for students at Victoria Point State High School and Victoria Point and Redland Bay state primary schools for the fundraiser.
Tom, his 18-month-old sister Lula and his parents, who are both former Victoria Point State High School staff, also turned up to enjoy the fun.
Mr Steinhardt said he was amazed by the student and community support shown for the cause.
He said the more conversation there was about the disease, the better those diagnosed and their families could cope.
“It has been outstanding,” he said. “I didn’t think it would turn into this.”
To donate to the Mark Hughes Foundation, visit here.