By Peter Douglas
Dandenong Ranges youngster Joshua Schwarz has lost his almost four-year battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Though it wasn’t without a courageous fight from Joshua and his family.
In 2013, Josh was diagnosed with a brain tumour and given just four months to live, but, incredibly, he turned that into almost four years.
On Friday 20 January, Joshua suffered a brain bleed and he passed away on Saturday, 21 January, at 9.09am.
A fund-raising website was set up afterwards, which aimed to help the family to cover funeral costs.
On the site, sister Jade said no direct trauma had caused the bleed.
“(H)is beautiful body just decided that it was time,” she wrote.
“He was even dancing 15 minutes before it happened … he passed quietly surrounded by an abundance of love and light.”
Jade went on to pay tribute to her brother.
“Joshua was the most incredible little boy and everyone that ever encountered him will say the same,” she wrote.
“His passion for life and his endless charms was so beautiful to witness for the past nine years.
“He was the type of person what everyone wanted to know.”
Jade said wrote that her brother’s favourite pastimes included dancing, playing with his toys and cuddling everyone.
Joshua was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in March 2013, when parents Penne and Wolfgang, and sister Jade, had believed it was a low-grade tumour that was treatable with radiation or chemotherapy.
However, the family’s worst fears were realised later that year when a biopsy revealed it was an anaplastic astrocytoma grade three (AA3), a fast-moving form of brain cancer.
After further tests, the family was told that Joshua also suffered from a rare genetic gene MSH6, which meant chemotherapy and radiation were not an option.
In December 2013, mother Penne told the ‘Mail’ there was little help available for Joshua.
“The MSH6 stops cells from regenerating, which means the usual forms of treatment won’t work for Joshy – it would just cause more damage,” Penne said.
“And where the tumour sits, they can’t get to it – it’s in the area where language, understanding and movement are affected.
“So doctors won’t do it because there is a high risk of stroke, an inability to communicate, paralysis – it could basically turn him into a vegetative state.”
Meanwhile, in a final display of how greatly Joshua had touched those around him, the fund-raising target of $20,000 was reached in just two days, with 626 people contributing.