Relay for Life: Family’s faith bolstered as Sinead beats the odds


Juniors in The Inspired Crusaders: Tahlia Stokes, Sinead Engelbrecht, Thomas Stokes and Ronan Engelbrecht.
Juniors in The Inspired Crusaders: Tahlia Stokes, Sinead Engelbrecht, Thomas Stokes and Ronan Engelbrecht.

THIS weekend will see the WA Cancer Council’s annual Relay for Life Joondalup Wanneroo at Arena Joondalup.

And among the many Relay for Life teams taking part in the 24-hour fundraiser to assist the Cancer Council with its cancer research and support programs are The Inspired Crusaders.

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Team captain Hayley Engelbrecht said her team was inspired by her daughter Sinead, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 when she was just 10 weeks old. Sinead is the Engelbrechts’ youngest child and the only girl with four older brothers.

“When the doctors told us Sinead had a brain tumour, they said it was a morbid prognosis and that she wouldn’t survive,” Hayley said. “They cautioned us against seeking chemotherapy treatment; they said it would be inhumane.”

But the family refused to just watch their little girl die, so they requested the treatment. The first chemotherapy took off the surface tumour, but little Sinead was still in trouble and the family drew on their faith to help her survive.

Catholic congregations around the world were alerted to Sinead’s suffering, and responded with prayers and a special Novena.

Sinead proved to be a great little fighter and despite the early dire predictions, she managed to cling on to life.

Over the years Sinead has undergone many procedures and treatments, including the delicate removal of a tumour inside her brain. “At one time we were told to prepare ourselves to turn off the life support,” Hayley said. “But she is still with us, now tumour-free, in Year 1 at school.”

Hayley said Sinead enjoys a fairly normal life which includes outdoor activities and sport, although for the more robust activities she must wear protective head gear.

For more details about the WA Cancer Council’s Relay for Life Joondalup Wanneroo call 0472 596 090 or email relayforlifejoondalupwanneroo@gmail.com .