A brave little girl: Don’t cry for me, I’ll get better

Pictured: Carol Bravo, Samantha Pride, 4, Sophie Pride, 2, and Mat Pride.
“Whatever it takes” is the Pride family’s motto.
When dad, Mat Pride, is woken up at 2am by his little girl’s cries, he’ll spend hours rubbing Samantha’s cramped legs. It’s no problem.

Whatever it takes.

When mum, Carol Bravo, hold’s Samantha’s hand and watches while the doctors give her little girl multiple needles and medicine, she keeps it together.

Whatever it takes.

This is the new “normal” for the Redbank Plains family of six.

Samantha was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June 2017 when she was just three years old.

Life for her family has been turned upside down ever since and they are taking things one day at a time.

The battle for a diagnoses

Samantha’s parents were waiting with her in the hospital emergency room, along with her little baby sister Sophie.

Samantha had been complaining of pains in the tummy and feeling tired for weeks. Her stomach had become large. She’d previously been told she was constipated.

Mr Pride was finding answers difficult to come by. But he kept trying.

“I just felt it wasn’t right,” he said. Then a senior doctor stepped in.

“He (the doctor) said he could feel her liver and spleen through her belly and they were below her belly button. He ran some blood tests himself. When he came back he said ‘you are going to Lady Cilento’,” Mr Pride said.

It was midnight.

It took two more days to discover their beautiful little girl with the long blonde hair had cancer.

Samantha is on a two-year treatment plan and she is six months in.

A difficult road

She has had dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, 12 lumber punctures, hundreds of doses of dreadful tasting medicines and a Port (metal reservoir connected to a catheter) inserted into her chest.

Allergic reactions following chemotherapy have plagued Samantha. She suffered anaphylaxis from one, and her entire body was covered by a rash after another.

She also forgets words and still gets shocking cramps, sometimes in her leg, sometimes in her tummy.

“We had to pull Sophie out of kindy because she would come home sick and if Samantha gets sick it normally means two weeks in hospital,” Ms Bravo said.

Community support

One of Ms Bravo’s friends is in the Racehorse Hotel leisure club. She suggested Carol’s family be recipients of their next fundraiser.

Rob Brown from Corporate Comedians then chose the family to be the beneficiaries of a League Legends Lunch at the hotel on Friday, March 2.

Ms Bravo was blown away.

“At first we said ‘no, we couldn’t accept this’. But Rob rang me up and told me ‘we have chosen your family, just accept it’,” she said.

“It means a lot to the family as Mat is a concreter for Prospect Concreting and misses a fair bit of work. Scott and Hayley are so understanding, never once has his random absence been an issue.”

Samantha likes riding her bike, taking pictures, drawing houses and trees. One of her other favourite things are socks.
A lot of bribery and a lot of heartache

“One of the biggest things is getter her (Samantha) to take her medicines because some days she is just over it, we have all sorts of games,” Ms Bravo said.

The flower pick is Samantha’s favourite.

“It’s funny watching daddy pick pretend flowers,” she said.

They have a countdown, the whole family takes part in. There is also the rocket ship taking off, ready, set, go car races down the racetrack and then she will take her medicine.

One day at a time

Despite being ill, Samantha’s optimism continues to inspire her parents.

“She’s been amazing, she copes much better than us,” Ms Bravo said.

Cheeky Samantha chimed in: “I’m going to get better. Don’t cry for me.”

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