Mother grappling with daughter's rare brain tumour praises WA families for lending a helping hand

A Wheatbelt mother grappling with her daughter's rare brain tumour has praised West Australian families for lending a helping hand after she reached out on social media. 

Southern Cross resident Kylie Gee pleaded for assistance on social media two weeks ago, after she found herself in desperate need of clothing donations for her daughter Siahn.

As part of her tumour and autism, Siahn constantly tears her clothes. 

Ms Gee said it was a difficult first step but thanked the community for their generosity. 

"I felt really reserved putting that post out in the beginning," Ms Gee said.

"I had no idea that it was going to be shared and I was completely overwhelmed by the response.

"It was really hard to ask for help. It's hard to put it out there."

Siahn was diagnosed with a brain tumour, or hypothalamic hamartoma at 18-months-old.

For four months she was having 500 seizures a day before being referred to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne for surgery.

Siahn was also diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Now at 18-years-old, she is low functioning and non-verbal.

Ms Gee said 10 years ago the family had to put Siahn in care because of the symptoms of her tumour.

"One of her behaviours is to rip, which has been going on for about 10 years now," she said.

"It is not just isolated to clothing. It includes furniture and linen.

"She rips for three different reasons; communication, sensory and she will do it when she is angry.

"Going back about six years ago the ripping really intensified.

"We were looking at 15 to 20 t-shirts a day, shorts, jackets, the whole lot.

"The strategies that have been put in place have minimised it but it still happens.

"We are doing everything we can to overcome it but it's harder.

"Siahn has little control over her compulsion to rip.

"She doesn't do it to be naughty.

"It is just her way of coping with challenges in communication with sensory overload."

Ms Gee said although the ripping is slowing down the family struggled to keep supplying clothes for Siahn.

"In the early days we used to clear out the clearance racks," she said.

"We would have a lot of Siahn's staff bring in clothes.

"I was at the sewing machine three or four times a week fixing what she had already destroyed but that became too much.

"It got harder and harder to keep up with.

"About two weeks ago we didn't have enough in the reserves."

What resulted from this was the Facebook post that was shared more than 260 times and reached people in New South Wales, Queensland, Broome and Esperance.

Ms Gee said the response has been widespread and overwhelming.

"I had a phone call from a lovely lady in Victoria who is going to box up some clothes and send them to Siahn, the same with New South Wales and Queensland," she said.

"I had a message from a lady from the Moora post office who wanted to put the message out to that community.

"Toodyay was absolutely outstanding - the response from that town along was beautiful."

The mother-of-three said thanks to the support of strangers Siahn will have enough clothes for the next few months.

"I am so grateful and it absolutely does just take the pressure off for a little while," Ms Gee said.

"People might not think it is a big deal because they are handing over clothes that they were going to get rid of anyway but for us, it was just huge." 

Ms Gee said she has also been contacted by parents of other children with autism who have given her hope about her daughter's ripping tenancies. 

"I did have a phone call from a guy whose son did engage in the ripping behaviour as well," she said.

"He was a lot older than her but had grown out of that.

"Even six years ago she was ripping around 20 t-shirts a day, down to about five to 10 now.

"Somedays she will only go through three.

"We would hope in the next few years we will be able to get on top of this.

"Quite a few people who have called and messaged have said they also have kids with autism and said they understood where I was coming from."

World Autism Awareness Day was held on April 2 and throughout the month the disorder is celebrated nationally. To read more about autism and what events are on throughout April, visit