Victory Through Childhood Cancer

Victoria Grace
Victoria Grace. (Photo credit: wendyrobinson.com.au)

When Wendy Robinson first took Victoria Grace to hospital, she thought there was something wrong with her daughter’s leg. But after six hours in emergency, a neurologist said a word no mother wants to hear. Victoria’s falls were due to cancer in her brain.

Wendy’s initial reaction was shock and anger at God. “How could you let this happen to a three-year-old girl?” But since she’d found faith at 24, God had used marriage and money problems to prepare her for this moment. “I’d learnt how to press in and pray,” she told 20Twenty’s Neil Johnson.

Because the tumour was on Victoria’s brain stem, doctors struggled initially to work out how to respond, leaving the family in limbo. “After a couple of days in hospital, they said to my husband and I ‘you can take her home now. Come back in seven days, and we’ll have worked out how we’re going to do this operation’.”

Wendy Robinson
Wendy Robinson (Photo credit: wendyrobinson.com.au)

But they had no idea how, or even whether, she would come out of surgery. “So we left hospital not knowing what our life was going to look like in seven days time; whether our family would be the same or not.”

They spent some of that time together as a family, and sat with God, asking for His guidance. Someone told Wendy to “stay with the Psalms”, and in them, she saw the rollercoaster of emotions David experienced as he struggled to understand God.

“Reading through the Psalms just helped me to go ok, I’m not the only one that feels like this. And that brings a level of comfort. And through that then I was able to come to a place where I was able to surrender, and say ‘God, she’s yours. We dedicated her as a baby, you gave her to us, and she is yours’.”

One of the things Wendy has learned through this experience is understanding of the different ways her family have coped with grief and pain. While she processed her struggle internally, her husband got through by talking to his friends. One of their other children was very transparent. “What about me? Why have you left me behind? Why are you not here all the time now Mummy? What’s going on?”

But her other children responded in different ways – one, who was more introverted like Wendy, only spoke about it three years later, while another became sick herself six years after the process began. “Its been a very interesting journey, and through that, I guess we’ve seen God minister to each of those children, and help us to be better parents, in understanding the needs of each child.”

Wendy also learnt to be humble enough to accept help. At one point her friends and family arranged a roster of more than 60 people, providing food, company, and weekly babysitting, so that her and her husband could have time to themselves. “Just that practical support, as well as the emotional support, was critical,” she admitted.

Victoria is now 12 years old, and in July last year, she had her final MRI. She’s in a far better place now than doctors ever could have imagined. “The tumour is still there in her brain,” Wendy said, “but it has not grown for over five years now, and she herself is full of life.”

Victoria with the results from her MRI scan
Victoria with the results from her MRI scan. (Photo credit: wendyrobinson.com.au)

Victoria is now a para-athlete, and has recently competed at a state level in swimming, and nationally in athletics. “So despite this disability that she’s got, a left side weakness, she seems to have been able to reconcile with God that ‘ok, this is my body. This is where I am today. And I’m going to make the most of these things’.”

Victoria at the School Sports Australia Track and Field Exchange with her bronze medal for the 11 year old girls multi-class discus. (Photo credit: wendyrobinson.com.au)

The Robinsons’ story is an amazing example of faith in the midst of hardship reminding us of the way God gives us strength when we need it most. To read more about their ordeal, and the coping strategies Wendy developed, check out her book, “Victoria Grace: Living with Victory Through Childhood Cancer”, available to buy from Koorong.

Victoria Grace book

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times and more interviews.

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