Name: Travis John Newman
DOB: 16 January 2008
Proudly coached at Equiste by Sarah Venamore and supported by Woodside Warmbloods & Red Kite.
Travis is the youngest of four boys, and is growing up on a rice farm at Murrami, NSW. He loves farm life; riding his motorbike and helping raise orphan lambs and calves. His dream is to one day make it to the Paralympics.
Pets: two dogs called Buddy and Bonnie
Favourite colour: teal
Hobbies: helping his Nan in the garden, assiting his dad around the farm, riding his motorbike, teaching his dogs tricks, Star Wars, Harry Potter lego and playing games on the computer.
Favourite meal: Nan’s spag bol.
Quote: “if I ever fall off my horse mum, go to her first and make sure she is ok, I don’t want her to get hurt.”
As told by his mum.
Travis was your typical 9 year old boy. He loved growing up on the farm and hanging out with his 3 older brothers. He really loved visiting his Nan and gardening with her. He loved riding his bike and motorbike and helping his dad on the farm. He loved all the animals and especially horses. Travis is kind and thoughtful and very charming. An old soul is what my mum would say.
He was just starting to learn to ride when we got the news that no parent what’s to hear, “I’m sorry your son has bone cancer”. Travis had what is called a Ewing sarcoma, a tumour in his left leg between his ankle and knee. The tumour was 7.5cm long. It started in his fibular bone and grew into the soft tissue around the bone. Within two days of finding out about Travis’s tumour we flew to Sydney to the Children’s hospital at Westmead. There Travis and I started his cancer journey. We were both scared and frightened. I never actually told Travis his tumour was cancer until after we got the results of his biopsy a few days later. This would be the hardest day of my life, telling my son that he has cancer, no we cannot go home, and you have to have months of chemotherapy, surgery and then more months of chemotherapy.
Travis hated the thought of staying in the city and having chemo, he said he is not having chemo and losing his hair and being sick, (he had seen the other kids in the oncology ward). “Why can’t they just chop off my leg and let me go home” he said. Loosing half his leg was better, in his mind, then having to stay in hospital and have chemo.
Bone cancer is a very aggressive cancer so the treatment has to be very aggressive. The doctor told us it was going to be hell and he was right. It was brutal. Travis started treatment on 25th November 2017. We were able to come home for Christmas, we tried to make it special because we didn’t know whether this would be the last Christmas we would have with Travis. We flew back to Sydney on Boxing Day to continue chemo. Travis spent his 10th birthday (16th January) in hospital. His dad flew to Sydney to be with him for his birthday and his Aunt and Uncle came with a birthday cake, but he was too sick from 5 days of chemo to enjoy his birthday. Travis had 3 months of chemo to try and shrink the tumour. We were very lucky that his tumour responded to treatment and a PET scan revealed that the tumour had shrunk. He then had an operation to remove the remaining tumour and most of his fibular bone in his left leg.
Once Travis recovered enough from surgery he went through another six months of chemo. Day by day I watched as the sweet, loving, innocent boy I knew slowly disappeared. Cancer and chemotherapy destroyed that sweet childhood innocents and wide eyed wonder and that glint of mischief that can only be found in young boys. His childhood carefree days become lost amidst the pain and nausea from the drugs that where saving his life but destroying his body. The loss of hair and the blackened eyes that made him look “ugly”. The nose bleeds that wouldn’t stop, the constipation and painful mouth ulcers. The blood and platelet transfusions. The doctor was defiantly right. Hell is not in some deep dark soulless pit it is right there in the middle of any child oncology ward.
Finally on 3rd September 2018 Travis had his last dose of chemo and then after a very intense wait on 12th of October 2018 Travis was declared CANCER FREE. Best day of my life.
It took a while, but slowly as Travis recovered from his ordeal, I found my sweet kind hearted boy I once knew.
With thanks to Red Kite and Mark Dowling of Woodside Warmbloods, Travis has his special unicorn, "Penny".