At 15-years-old Sophie Baxter has overcome obstacles which other youngsters her age could not even imagine.
When Sophie, from Redlands in South East Queensland, was nine she fell over on a family holiday, and while her family thought she had broken a bone when her arm swelled up, they were given a much more shocking diagnosis at hospital.
Sophie had osteosarcoma – a type of bone cancer.
“This was a complete shock to us and if she had never had the accident we would never have known and things might have been different,” Sophie’s father Neil Baxter told Yahoo7.
The young girl underwent treatment, including chemotherapy for a number of months, and had part of her left humerus replaced with titanium.
Following this Sophie had regular appointments, and as time went on the family was told they couldn’t find anything else.
She grew stronger and went back to school – living a life which many others might take for granted.
But at the end of 2016 there was a set back in Sophie’s recovery, when some small cancerous spots were found on her body.
“Sophie had to undergo surgery and some isolated radiation treatment,” a GoFundMe page set up by her teachers, including Jenni Van Der Walt, explains.
“During this time, Sophie never missed a day of school (she went each afternoon for treatment and was back at school the next day).
“She never cried poor me, she never asked for special treatment and she never missed an assignment due date!”
In 2017 she was admitted for more surgery as there were some cancerous cells remaining.
Earlier this year, Sophie was re-admitted again when an x-ray found a tumour on her lung. She had radiation again and had part of a rib removed.
Then a few months later Sophie developed what was initially thought to be a bit of a cold, but it turned out to be about three litres of fluid on her lung.
When that was removed it was revealed that another tumour had formed.
The family began to seek out other alternative therapies through a naturopath to help improve Sophie’s wellbeing, which complement other traditional treatment she was receiving.
Those include hypothermic treatment and hyperbaric medicine, which involved the family travelling from Redlands to the Gold Coast.
“Hope is never lost, there are just other opportunities to work on it,” Mr Baxter said.
“She’s off school at the moment because of the timing of the treatments,” Mr Baxter explained.
Every day next week she will have hyperbaric oxygen therapy, at a cost of about $8000.
Mr Baxter added that they have also “drastically changed her eating plan and she’s on supplements… things that are designed for the body to attack the tumour, and also to strengthen their immune system.”
He added: “It’s a case of this is what we’ve got to do and we’ve got to get on and deal with it. She has that approach as well. She’s got a long term focus.”
The now grade ten student has picked her subjects for her remaining school years, with her father saying she is very art focused.
“She’s been an excellent student all throughout.”
“(She’s) looking more towards makeup or theatre make up or being part of film and television,” he said.
The family said it is “forever grateful” for the school community for their help, and at this stage there is no time frame as to when Sophie will be able to return to school.
But the family is having an appointment with an oncologist at hospital at the end of the month to check on her progress.
“It’s hard to judge without proper scans and things,” her father explained.
“In terms of her health and general wellbeing, it has improved dramatically. She seems to be happier.
“And from an external point of view she looks well.”
A GoFundMe page set up by Sophie’s teachers hopes to remove some financial stress from the family, which is currently supported by only one income with Sophie’s father on leave to take his daughter to the appointments she needs.