How this 5-year-old saved her mum’s life

Jodie was applying her make-up when her daughter came to her rescue...
Jodie Harper

Jodie Harper, 38, Melbourne, Vic

– Jodie’s twin daughters were watching her apply her make-up

– Liv, five, spotted something different about her mum’s back

– If she hadn’t spoken up, Jodie could’ve been dead in six weeks

As I applied my mascara, my twin daughters gazed up at me. Olivia and Leni, five, loved watching me do my make-up.

Just then Liv piped up.

‘That freckle looks different, Mummy.’

She was right, there was a small brown freckle on my shoulder blade. I hadn’t known it was there, let alone that it had changed.

It doesn’t look sinister, I thought.

But Liv said it had a white ring next to it that hadn’t been there before.

The freckle with the white ring (Credit: Jodie Harper)

Wanting to set a good example, I had it checked. My GP referred me to a surgeon, who examined the blemish.

‘There’s a one per cent chance it will be anything serious,’ the surgeon reassured me. ‘But we’ll remove it just in case.’

Just 48 hours after the op, the surgeon phoned me.

‘I’m afraid you’re part of the one per cent,’ he said. ‘You’ve got stage-one melanoma.’

Skin cancer? I was shocked.

‘Given time, this would have been lethal,’ the surgeon continued. ‘The good news is we can treat it.’

Doing some research online, I read that melanoma could go from treatable to terminal in just six weeks.

I dreaded to think what would’ve happened if my daughter hadn’t spoken up.

‘It was a bad freckle and I’m very lucky Liv was so observant,’ I told my girls.

Liv, Leni and me (Credit: Jodie Harper)

In January this year, I needed another op to remove the area around the freckle. Thankfully, the cancer hadn’t spread.

Afterwards, I met with dermatologist Dr Rosemary Nixon at the Skin and Cancer Foundation Inc, in Victoria, to learn how to protect myself.

Dr Nixon couldn’t believe it when I told her my five-year-old found my cancer.

‘She saved your life,’ she said.

I couldn’t wait to tell Liv and she loved telling her classmates she’s a lifesaver. She even shares our story with strangers in the street!

I’m just happy she’s spreading an important message.

Leni and Liv (Credit: Jodie Harper)

No-one can see every inch of their skin, so I urge others to keep an eye out for family and friends.

Also, don’t put off getting your moles checked. I didn’t, thanks to Liv. I’m a very lucky mummy!

Liv saved my life (Credit: Jodie Harper)
Leni, me and Liv (Credit: Skin and Cancer Foundation Inc)
Leni, me and Liv – my lifesaver (Credit: Jodie Harper)

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