You gave my family a safe haven, a community, a home.
Hi, I’m Claire, mum to our little superhero survivor Archer. If you asked me last year to predict what we’ve faced over the last 15 months – a rollercoaster world of hospitals, tests, procedures and the word “leukaemia” – I would have been lost for words.
The experience that our family has been dragged into is full of unknowns. But one thing I know for sure is, I’m so incredibly grateful. Grateful that you were by our side.
You kept my family together, staying in beautiful Leukaemia Foundation accommodation when our world was breaking apart.
We were scared and facing so many uncertainties, but your support gave us back some normality. It meant more than you will ever know – thank you.
One week after his third birthday, Arch was diagnosed with B-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
We went from watching this bubbly and active toddler blowing out his birthday cake candles, to four days later, in hospital sick with a blood cancer. I just went numb and everything became a blur. My husband Matt and I had to make huge decisions on no sleep and with limited knowledge.
It’s hard to blindly trust people with your child’s life, but you have no choice.
Archer went through five phases of intensive chemotherapy, achieving remission, which was a huge relief. At first, we were told this intensive treatment would only last four to six months, but it’s ended up being almost nine. Now we’re into his maintenance phase of treatment, which takes 18 months.
Although finding out he had leukaemia is still the worst moment of my life, I was really at my lowest a few months later.
The realisation of that we were in this for the long-haul hit us hard.
It was tough, because the hype had worn off from the outside world, everyone goes back to their lives…but ours was changed forever.
From the day after Archer was diagnosed, your generosity took care of us.
We had to drop everything and travel to interstate, to the Children’s Hospital four hours from our home.
Because of your support, we had a beautiful Leukaemia Foundation accommodation apartment to call home. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have people like you who cared so much!
It’s such a beautiful community feeling with the other families. The kids can play safely and we’ve made some beautiful friends.
It’s so nice to know that weren’t not alone in this – but I don’t just mean the other families, I mean you too.
You gave us a place that we can come back to at the end of a long day, to gather as a family and be together. And that just means the world. Thank you.
So what’s next for us?
I know that blood cancer will only be half the battle as we get Arch through maintenance treatment and then life after that. So many sleepless nights will come from other things like infections, side effects and trauma.
We’re facing the toughest fight of our life, but we are hopeful knowing people like you are behind us and committed to conquering this awful disease.
My top tips for parents: