Two years earlier, Evie was a typical nine-year-old girl who loved nothing more than spending time with friends, playing on her computer and lazy DVD nights at home with her mothers.
After complaining of pain in her left knee, Evie’s other mother Alison Elgar took her to the emergency department.
‘I dressed her in her school uniform because I assumed it was just a fracture from basketball and I’d drop her back at school later that morning,’ Ms Elgar said.
‘Of course when we came back for the results they said ‘the oncologist wants to speak with you,’ and I couldn’t even remember what an oncologist was. I went into complete shock.’
Within a week of doctors finding a solid bone tumour known as osteosarcoma on Evie’s knee, she began chemotherapy.
When she didn’t respond to the treatment two months later, her leg was amputated at the hip.
A scan the following year picked up tumours on her lungs and, despite increasingly toxic doses of chemotherapy, a fatal tumour grew in her chest cavity.
Evie passed away at home on September 15, 2010.
‘When your child has cancer your whole world feels like a warzone,’ Ms Elgar said.
‘Then when they are gone, you are jolted back to the civilian world and no one can understand what you’ve been through.
‘By starting the Evie Charitable Association (No Matter What), we are simply trying to make some good come out of the horror.’
These school holidays, the Evie Charitable Association collaborated with the Starlight Foundation to deliver fun and educational school holiday programs to cancer patients aged five to 12.
‘Having held our first successful pilot program in April, we are excited to be given the opportunity to roll out this educational program until January 2014,’ Ms Elgar said.
‘There is a great demand for additional funding for services and equipment in the PMH oncology ward and we are proud to assist in this way.’
Ms Rogers said the school holiday program was valuable because cancer does not follow a timetable.
‘Evie would be sick all through the school term and people would ask her ‘are you looking forward to the school holidays?’ and she would say ‘no, I want to go to school’,’ she said.
‘Ali and I wanted to do something that reflected who Evie was, and Evie absolutely adored school.
‘We always said to Evie ‘we love you no matter what’. The charity embodies those ideas of resilience and determination. No matter what, you keep going.’
Visit the Evie Charitable Association at www.nomatter what.com.au.