There are some feelings that you just can’t describe.
Feelings of intense emotion born from countless hours of caring strongly for something or someone.
John Croft has felt something like that before – many successful years as a Dubbo Macquarie Raiders first grader, and just as many with his wife, Ange, have brought about quite a number of incredible memories.
But few compare to the one he experienced last week when a doctor told him and his family that his daughter, Molly, was cancer free.
“I remember the feeling from last Friday, and I think about 50 people have asked what it was like, but I just can’t really describe it,” John said.
“I imagine if you won $20 million in lotto, there’d be so much euphoria around that, but I just think this feeling was better – you’re talking about your child.
“We knew when we started that there was a 40-50 per cent chance that Molly could become cancer free from the treatment so to be on the good side of that number, it’s like walking on air.”
And on Friday 17 May at the Westmead Children’s Hospital cancer clinic, the vivacious 12-year-old got to celebrate the moment by “ringing the bell” – a moment which signifies the end of one’s treatment.
“It used to be when your treatment was finished and you were cancer free you just left the hospital, see you later,” John said.
“Now they’ve got a bell in the clinic that you ring.
“I didn’t understand the significance when we first started everything but having seen other parents go through it with their kids and seeing the happiness at the end, it’s a great moment.”
Molly was diagnosed with bone cancer in July last year, a week after she initially complained of shin cramps at an interstate Catholic school’s basketball tournament.
Since then, it’s been a long road full of vital chemotherapy, many months in a hospital bed and the eventual removal of her knee and two-thirds of her shin.
Despite her age, it’s a journey that has never been lost on her.
“When we first sat down with the professor in July last year, he said to us ‘Molly’s not silly. I’m not going to lie to her, and you can’t either because she will lose trust in you’,” John said.
“She knew the percentages, she knew how critical the chemo was, and she understands how good it is to get the results we have.
“When we found out she was cancer free, my wife stayed in the office to talk with the doctor for a little longer and I just remember Molly and I walking into the corridor and she just burst into tears – happy tears.
“Her dad wasn’t too far behind her; I’ll tell you that much.”
John and his family will travel back to Dubbo tomorrow, and Molly is looking forward to being home again after nearly 10 months in Sydney.
“We know life won’t ever be normal again really. My wife and I will always be cautious if she gets a chest cold or anything like that,” John said.
“But for her being young, she can’t wait to sleep in her own bed and see her friends and go back to school – it’s the simple things that you miss.”