Jesse Fisher is a young local lad with a passion for football – especially his favourite team, the Paramatta Eels and with his amazing determination and strength of character, he could just possibly be a future Paralympian! Jesse and his mum, Belinda, share their story so far …
Hi Jesse. How old are you, and where do you go to school?
Jesse: I’m 6. I’m in Kindy at St Peter’s Primary.
Belinda, please tell us a bit about Jesse’s medical history – what led to him having an operation on his leg earlier this year?
Belinda: Jesse would say he has a broken leg and a bone disease.
He has NF 1 – Neurofibromatosis type 1. Also, he had a pseudoarthrosis of the left leg. He had a large Neurofibroma (tumour) which ate away his bones in his left foot. We were told that Jesse would eventually end up with a leg with a lump of meat at the end of it that would have a high chance of becoming malignant. We were told that they had to amputate his lower left leg; this would give him a much better quality of life.
Jesse, we know you’re a massive Parramatta Eels fan. Who’s your favourite player, and why do you like him so much?
Jesse: Nathan Hindmarsh. He is a good player, and he came and saw me in hospital and bought me some Bey Blades.
What’s your favourite footy memory?
Jesse: When I went into the dressing shed at Newcastle and saw all the Parramatta players.
What are some of the other things you like to do for fun outside school?
Jesse: Playing 44 home, touch footy, tips, footy and the Xbox.
Belinda, Jesse’s obviously a very brave, happy-go-lucky chap. What are some of the things you’ve seen him do that make you particularly proud?
Belinda: Five months after Jesse’s surgery, he had a sports carnival for school. Kindy do a running race of 70 m. Jesse had only had his new prosthetic for about 3 months; his stump had changed quite a bit, so his prosthetic leg wasn’t the best fit. He was super keen to race. He started the race and began running, and about 20 m into his race, his prosthetic leg fell off. He did not fall over; he just kept on hopping the next 50 m.
Everyone clapped and cheered, and he had his arms in the air enjoying the applause as he crossed the finish line. There were a lot of watery eyes, and everyone was just amazed at his strength and willpower to complete the race.
I was the proudest mum on that day! I had parents commenting that we should save our money, as he would be off to the Paralympics in no time.
What are some of the qualities you feel Jesse’s displayed that we could all learn and benefit from?
Belinda: Never give up, you can do anything you want to do, and be happy with what you have. He will tell you that this new metal leg is much better than his other leg. We were told that Jesse could not do contact sport. He just loves to play footy and is keen to sign up to the Breakers Footy Club next year. He is tough, and nothing holds him back. He has never complained about his leg once.
What’s Jesse’s medical prognosis now – is he in the all clear for the future?
Belinda: We won’t know about stump overgrowth until about 12 months after surgery (April 13). If his tibia bone still grows, it will grow through his skin. He will need surgery every year until he stops growing to shave back the tibia, so the bone doesn’t grow through the stump.
Also, he has an Optic Nerve Glioma (tumour) of his left eye; this has just been discovered only 3 months ago. This is something that we just need to monitor and hope doesn’t become active. If it becomes active, it could lead to brain surgery, chemo and blindness.
Neurofibromatosis is a disease where you get lots of tumours. They become more active during puberty. At the moment, we are just enjoying watching him run around and be a little boy.
Jesse, what do you hope Santa will bring you for Christmas this year?
Jesse: Sky Landers for my Xbox and a remote control car.
How do you think the Eels will go in the new season – Grand Final champs for sure?
Jesse: Probably fourth.s
Thanks Jesse and Belinda – you’re both troupers. All the best for the future!
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was found on issue 84 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus