Rockhampton schoolgirl Hannah Tarlington (left) with her older sister Nicole.
Rockhampton schoolgirl Hannah Tarlington (left) with her older sister Nicole. CONTRIBUTED

Dad's heartfelt tribute to young daughter battling cancer

DARREN Tarlington admits he finds it hard to talk about his young daughter's cancer battle.

But the words come easily when he's asked to describe 13-year-old Hannah's courage and the way in which she has approached the biggest battle of her life.

"She's amazing really. I know I'm her father but she's taken it all in her stride. She's just so strong,” he said from Brisbane.

READ: How one young boy's kindness inspired a community.

"So far, all the news we've got since we've got back here (after being home for Christmas) is very positive and the doctors are happy.

"We've had time to absorb it all. It's switched from shock and stress to being motivated to get her cured and back home to Rockhampton where she can get on with her life.”

Darren explains that Hannah was experiencing extreme fatigue and severe headaches in the weeks leading up to her cancer diagnosis in August last year.

An MRI scan done in Rockhampton revealed "two shadows” and Hannah was rushed to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

Three exploratory surgeries determined that one mass was malignant, the other relatively benign.

Hannah underwent six weeks of radiation and is currently in the first of four cycles of chemotherapy.

Darren and his wife Leesa have relocated to Brisbane while Hannah's older sister Nicole makes the trip to Brisbane as often as possible.

"It's hard. I just want to be there with her but it's great that mum and dad are there,” Nicole said.

"Hannah's going really good and she's still herself. She does get a bit sick now and again but that's to be expected.”

Darren said the results of the radiation therapy had been positive.

"That's looking good and so far through the chemo she's handling things admirably well. She has her down days but she's been very good mentally.

"We're just focused on getting her better. We're in the right place and we're in the best hands.”

Darren said he was touched by the kindness shown by the Hansen family and the Rockhampton community.

"You can't put a price on it, especially for Hannah. People coming out to do these sort of things gives her a boost and it's a boost for all of us.

"That sort of support is great. Everyone's been so great.”

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