Like most five-year-old girls, Roxy Austin loves unicorns, llamas, oodies and every shade of pink, purple and aqua.
The Tighes Hill Primary School kindergartner also adores spending time with her best friends and KH classmates, Edith and Poppy.
And, being allowed to wear pyjamas to school – that’s almost the icing on the cake.
So, it’s no surprise that on Wednesday 17 August, when she saw all 200 of the school’s Kindergarten to Year 6 students in their favourite sleepwear, the shy Carrington youngster was a little overwhelmed.
Roxy is returning to the classroom after seven months of chemotherapy.
After being diagnosed with leukaemia in August 2021, she started blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and bone marrow aspirations almost immediately.
Now, just seven months later, she is learning how to spell her surname, add numbers, and form words with letters, just like her classmates.
She has even signed up to walk 100km with her family next month as part of Camp Quality’s Big Walk for Little Kids fundraiser.
The month-long event challenges participants to walk 25, 50 or 100km during September to raise funds for kids facing cancer.
Pyjama Day was a way for her school community to show its support for the Austin family and to celebrate Roxy’s recovery.
By midday, they had surpassed $6000.
“She’s an amazing, strong, little girl,” says Roxy’s teacher Suzanne Holcroft.
“We’ve watched her battle this since the end of January and we are so proud of her.”
Ms Holcroft and her two-dozen students were regularly sending video messages to Roxy while she underwent treatment.
They have a toy monkey that sits in her seat when she’s not in the classroom.
“The monkey in the chair is there to remind Roxy that her place in the group will never be taken, and that we’re thinking of her every day.”
It’s one of the tools the group learned after hosting a Camp Quality education program onsite last month.
The not-for-profit group offers programs and services aimed at improving the quality of life for kids impacted by cancer.
They also host events and offer hospital support, digital resources and counselling for the community.
Big Walk for Little Kids is the group’s largest annual fundraiser.
Roxy’s mum Rebecca says Roxy and her siblings Talon and Kirra are taking on the 100km challenge in a bid to give back to the charity that is now close to their hearts.
“Roxy was always a go-getter, and even through chemo, she just has this attitude of just getting on with it,” says Rebecca.
“It was a different story when Roxy returned to school. Her long, beautiful hair had all fallen out because of treatment, and the kids at school didn’t understand and Roxy felt alone.
“Camp Quality’s Cancer Education Program visited the school to give some much-needed cancer education and showed how to be a supportive friend.
“Roxy is now doing so well in Kindy with wonderful support from her teacher, classmates and all her friends.
“She wants to show that kids with cancer can still do normal things and raise money for a charity that does so much for her, and kids like her.”
Everyone can walk BIG this September for kids facing cancer – just like Roxy. Go to bigwalk.org.au to sign up.