Kate Langbroek discusses Lewis' leukaemia

Yesterday, on 7 August 2013, Kate Langbroek’s son Lewis turned ten years old. It was one of the happiest days of Kate’s life. Today – on Kate’s birthday – she shared why it was so special.

In December 2009, Kate’s oldest son, Lewis Lewis was diagnosed with leukaemia.

He was just six years old and would spend the next three and a half years of his life in and out of hospital, fighting cancer.

But just after 8am today on Nova 100 - with an equally emotional Hughesy lending support - Kate was able to share the most beautiful news.

“Lewis finished treatment on March 30th this year,” Kate said.

“He’s really well and he’s really healthy and his hair’s grown back.

“He actually got called ‘Porky’ at a basketball clinic in the school holidays, which just made us so happy because you remember two and half years ago he was 18kgs and he had a feeding tube and he was a bald little badger.

“When I was tucking him in last night there were so many times that I didn’t dare to think that I’d be tucking in my ten year old son and I feel so blessed that I am and that we’re all here.”

Kate Langbroek and son Lewis

Kate had chosen not to share Lewis and her family’s battle over the past three and a half years on the radio because “it wasn’t my story to tell” and “sometimes we were up to eyeballs in terror”.

But she said it wasn’t meant to be a secret, and had had the support of Hughesy “every step of the way”, along with all the people she worked with and extended family and friends.

Hughesy said his on-air colleague of the past 12 years had been “absolutely incredible”.

“Lewis is very blessed that his parents are who they are because you and Peter have been amazing since the journey started,” Hughesy said.

“Your strength through this radio show and just through life has been remarkable and how you’ve kept soldiering on and never lost your sense of humour is incredible, absolutely incredible.

“To front up pretty much every day and have that beautiful spirit that you’ve never lost - and which I’m sure has rubbed off on Lewis and that’s why he’s the happy kid he is - is amazing.”

Lewis Lewis rewarded for minding a stranger's wallet

The journey started with a simple visit to the doctors. By the night of their third visit, the family was in the children’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Kate said it was "beyond the belief of what any parent would ever imagine for themselves".

“He was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia called T-Cell ALL (acute lymphocytic lymphoblastic leukaemia) and it is mercifully very rare and it is mercifully quite curable,” Kate said.

She said the Royal Children’s Hospital was the “most extraordinary place” and they had learned early on the importance of continuing to live “normal” lives.

“When Lewis was first diagnosed they said to us at the hospital you have to have live a normal life,” she said. “As you can imagine we were like ‘what are you talking about, who can live a normal life’?”

“(But) in the living of the normal life, you see why it is so important. Work is a salvation and secondly if you don’t live a normal life what are you saying to your child about what you think is going to happen to them and to you and to your family.

“So that was how we chose to go forward and we could do that because of people like you (Hughesy) and our family and friends and the Royal Children’s Hospital.”

“I can not thank you enough Hughesy, so beautiful you are. And if I was ever going into battle, my God I would like you to have in the trenches with me, and my beautiful husband who can’t talk about this but is happy to have it talked about.”

Please help support the organisations that work in research or are at the frontline of support for families in similar situations: Clown Doctors, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, the Leukaemia Foundation and KOALA Kids.

The family: Artie, Lewis, Kate, Jan, Sunday and Peter

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