Leukaemia: diagnosed four days before Christmas | Leukaemia Foundation

Leukaemia: diagnosed four days before Christmas

Ashely McCarthy and daughter Amelia

In the days leading up to Christmas 2015, Ashley and her partner Kane were busily preparing for Christmas with their three-year-old daughter Amelia.

“Amelia had been sick on and off for a few weeks,” Ashley explains.

“We thought she had the flu but she just wasn’t getting better.

“I’ll always remember that day. We had the whole day planned out, we were going out to the shops to buy everything for Christmas lunch.

“Amelia had a cough, and we decided to take her to the doctor. She was really pale and the doctor referred us to the Prince Charles hospital.”

After a blood test, Ashley and Kane were given the shock of their lives and told their little girl had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Amelia was transferred to the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane and started treatment the following day.

“Amelia was placed in the high risk category which meant she had eight months of brutal chemotherapy and blood transfusions,” Ashley said.

“We spent Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve in hospital.

“Our little trooper has been through hell and back and she has been a star the whole time.

“As parents it has been heartbreaking to watch our only child experience what she has been through.”

Amelia is now on maintenance, and is about to start prep, but has had a range of reactions to the chemotherapy.

“She’s been sensitive to the treatment, her body doesn’t process the chemotherapy the right way and is taking medication to combat it,” Ashley said.

“The medication has given her diabetes, it’s really knocked her around.

Despite support from their family and friends Ashley said because of Amelia’s low immune system, they spent eight months in what felt like isolation.

“Amelia is really close with her cousins but she couldn’t spend time with them,” Ashley said.

“We were like in this little bubble, it was eight months of solitude.

Last year the family shaved for the World’s Greatest Shave to normalise Amelia’s hair loss.

“We wanted to show support for our girl when she lost her hair, and it was such a fantastic feeling raising funds knowing what the donations are put towards,” Ashley said.

Last updated on June 19th, 2019

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