Schoolgirl defies odds

By Cherie Taylor

Watching her youngest child start school was one milestone Selena Gaskill-Maxwell never thought she would see.

Eighteen months ago she and husband Brendan Gaskill were told by doctors their daughter, Paige Maxwell, wouldn't survive two years if she didn't have surgery to remove a large tumour growing down her spine and into her abdomen.

The little girl had reverted to crawling because of the tumour and her parents feared she might never walk again. The then 3-year-old had surgery and now has regular tests to ensure three growths, which couldn't be removed, haven't spread.

Her parents don't know what the future holds because the tumours that were left can grow.

But despite that, a jubilant 5-year-old started at Lynmore School yesterday.

"I'm really excited," was all she could say to the Rotorua Daily Post.

Mrs Gaskill-Maxwell said it was a huge milestone for Paige.

"I never thought we would see this day. To be honest, we were told if she didn't have surgery she definitely wouldn't be here in two years."

Both parents dropped her off with older brothers Regan and Jaymie. Regan kept peeking through the classroom window to make sure Paige was okay. Another brother, Bailey, goes to Mokoia Intermediate.

"We've had nine years of kindergarten with all the kids and now they are all at school," Mr Gaskill said.

Mrs Gaskill-Maxwell planned to make the most of being child-free for a few hours to go cycling. She was a little anxious for her girl, though. "She's gone from kindy with 40 kids to 600-plus kids at school."

Paige goes back to Starship in October for more tests.

"We have to take it day by day, one day at a time ... this is a breeze compared with the last two years, though," Mrs Gaskill-Maxwell said.

Meanwhile, Paige is waiting for a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday cake to arrive for her birthday this Saturday.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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