When a young child is comfortable and confident enough to stay a whole day at kindy, it's usually just the proud parents and grandparents who celebrate the milestone with beaming smiles.

For Ethan Davies, 4, from Success, whose battle against a fist-sized ependymoma brain tumour involved nine hours of surgery, chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments, staff at the Telethon Kids Institute and Princess Margaret Hospital also stopped last month to mark the achievement.

Two years ago, Ethan was in so much pain he needed morphine just so his tiny frame could be turned over in his hospital bed. He is now tumour free.

"The staff have all along embraced us like family," his father Shannon Davies said. "They know what we have been through and have shared our journey."

Telethon Institute researchers say a new era has begun in the fight against childhood brain tumours.

Hopes were raised recently, says research leader Nick Gottardo, that the great gains made for leukaemia would be mirrored for this cancer using the tactic of more individualised and targeted treatment.

"Ethan spending the whole day at kindy - if you had asked me a year ago, I might not have held great hope," Mr Davies said.

"We live from scan to scan. We just do not look that far ahead."

On April 10, the Davies will mark the annual Ependymoma Awareness Day, with the institute and City of Perth joining a global release of butterflies to symbolise hope for children battling this brain tumour.

The West Australian

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