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Taylah says play is the best medicine.

In November 2014, as Taylah was gearing up for the summer holidays, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. 

Taylah began intensive chemotherapy treatment at Monash Children’s Cancer Centre immediately and was officially in remission by Christmas. 

However, this was only the start of Taylah’s journey. As leukaemia is a blood cancer, standard protocol dictates that patients receive treatment for 2-3 years despite being in the remission stage. 

Taylah endured chemotherapy and steroid treatments which took a toll on her physical and mental health.  

She was unable to play sports, attend school regularly and she missed out on socialising with her friends.  

“I felt really isolated, but I couldn’t risk going out and getting sick as I was so immunocompromised from the treatment,” explains Taylah. 

Taylah celebrated the end of her treatment in March 2017, and went on to complete year 12 and was accepted into Biomedical Science at Monash University. 

All was going well until Taylah found a lump in her breast while overseas in November 2019. She was told not to worry and to enjoy the rest of her trip.  

Upon her return in December, Taylah was informed she’d relapsed and went straight back into treatment for just over 12 months.

As Taylah was now 18, she was treated at both Monash Children’s Cancer Centre and the Adult Oncology team at Monash Medical Centre. In January 2021 her treatment protocol ended and now she visits every 3 months for check-ups.  

“As difficult as this has been for me and my family, it was the staff at Monash that really helped us through – they were so incredibly supportive and an enormous source of comfort for me, especially after I relapsed,” said Taylah. 

Not only did the doctors and nurses at Monash help her get through one of the toughest periods of her young life, one doctor in particular made such an impact on Taylah beyond treating her cancer. 

“Dr Sara Khan was such an amazing influence, and it was her who inspired me to study Biomedical Science, and to one day become a doctor.” 

Beyond studying to become a doctor, Taylah and her mother Vanessa host an annual event to raise funds for the Monash Children’s Cancer Centre – the Biggest Playdate. 

“The playdate not only aims to raise funds for MCCC, but also to create a fun family day full of laughter and smiles, things that are often minimised with a childhood cancer diagnosis for not only the patient, but their family,” explains Taylah. 

“Each year we raise funds to help fill the gaps in care, particularly around supporting patients transitioning from paediatric to adult care. I really value being able to catch up with the oncologists and nurses who attend the playdate and seeing how the money is making an impact.” 

The Biggest Playdate is happening on Sunday 17 March at Aspendale Gardens and is set to be a fabulous day out for the entire family. You’ll find rides, games, activities, food, prizes and much more! Head here for further details – we hope to see you there!