A BRAVE Hervey Bay schoolgirl is enduring a fight well beyond her years after doctors discovered a sinister 10kg tumour in her stomach.
Cherish-Rose Lavelle, 11, was rapidly losing weight with little to no explanation when her concerned mother took her to the doctor.
Within hours she was transferred to Hervey Bay Hospital and put on a plane to Brisbane - the size of the mass so rare doctors initially suspected she may have even been pregnant.
Tests soon revealed however that the culprit was an aggressive germ-cell cancer on her ovaries.
It's news Louise Lavelle, who had put her daughter's change in appetite and mood down to a possible eating disorder, is still struggling to absorb.
"You always hear of families going through similar things but you never think it will happen to you," Ms Lavelle said.
"I was in Hervey Bay with my business on Friday and she said to me she was tired all the time and lethargic.
"She was in a lot of pain so the next day I took her to the doctors."
Along with physical changes, Cherish-Rose's personality was also notably different.
"Over the last two months I noticed my little girl had changed and was not the normal happy, singing little girl," Ms Lavelle said.
"She's very theatrical and has lots of personality but then all of a sudden she was always tired and didn't seem as happy."
Ms Lavelle said the type of cancer was rare for a girl of Cherish-Rose's age.
The life-threatening condition means the once bubbly pre-teen won't be able to start Year 6 as planned later this month and will eventually be home-schooled until she has recovered.
"She had a procedure done (on Tuesday) to make an opening for the chemo to go into rather than it going into her arms," Ms Lavelle said.
"The chemo will shrink the tumour rapidly in two weeks so it can be removed."
Once the tumour is removed, Cherish-Rose will undergo further chemotherapy for four to six months.
"She'll lose her hair and have to go through all of the yucky stuff.
"But she has the support of her family and friends and the amount of support from the community has been incredible."
While Cherish-Rose faces a confronting time ahead, doctors have assured Ms Lavelle and her family there is a high chance of cure.
"It made my heart happy when I heard the news," she said.
"Although she still has a long journey ahead, it's comforting to know she has a huge chance and she'll go back to the bubbly and happy girl she was before."