You made sure Elowen’s family were right where they needed to be.
It was a first Mother’s Day that new mum Bronwyn will never forget. It was the day her nine-month-old daughter Elowen said her precious first words, “mum, mum.” But it was also the day Bronwyn and husband Will were blind-sided with the shocking news that baby Elowen had blood cancer.
“It was the most terrifying moment; we were fighting with every single emotion and we just looked at each other and thought, ‘this can’t be real’.”
– Will, Elowen’s dad
Elowen’s family had no time to process this unthinkable news. The next morning, they were forced to leave their Gold Coast home and make the trip to hospital in Brisbane, not knowing where they would stay or what would happen next.
That night, Bronwyn and Will faced even more heartache as they faced a terrifying emergency – Elowen stopped breathing.
“The doctors rushed in and started doing CPR to resuscitate her until she finally started breathing again.
“That was the hardest start we could have ever imagined. To almost lose her like that was just horrible,” recalls Will. As the family tried to regroup and prepare for what was to come, your support came to their immediate rescue.
You gave them the care and support to take on the huge fight against blood cancer, giving Elowen the best chance for a bright future:
A safe haven
Your generosity opened the doors to safe home-away-from-home accommodation.
“When I got there, I just thought, ‘this is home’. I could actually get some proper sleep. You knew you were safe as soon as you walked through the gates.”
Facing a long road ahead, Elowen’s family were able to move into a caring Leukaemia Foundation accommodation centre at no cost. Will calls the accommodation their “sanctuary”, remembering how staying here gave them peace of mind and support from those who understood their fears.
“We had a fantastic support network at the village with the other resident families and anyone would be there at a drop of a hat should you need it.”
Support for clinical trial access
Staying close to hospital meant Elowen could access a life-saving trial.
Being able to stay in Leukaemia Foundation accommodation close to a major hospital running a clinical trial was incredibly important. Elowen had a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and was able to be part of MyeChild01, an international clinical trial for childhood AML trialling the combination of chemotherapy and a special antibody that directly targets AML cells.
“She had a fantastic response to treatment and achieved remission with no detection of disease in her blood,” says Will.
Care from someone who understood
Thanks to your support, Bronwyn and Will had care and guidance from a specialised Blood Cancer Support Coordinator, Caroline.
“Caroline was there throughout the entire process. She was a great sounding board and helped me navigate through all the unknowns,” remembers Will.
“She would reassure me that we were in the best place possible and that babies are strong.”
A new beginning
Late last year, the family got the incredible news that they could return home. Elowen will continue to have regular check-ups while she gets on with being a one-year-old.
“Elowen’s hair is growing back, and we are getting her up to speed with all the normal baby stuff; walking, talking, eating,” says Will.
“We look forward to the day when no family will have to go through what we have. But we are just so grateful for the amazing care and support we received. You’ve helped get us through an almost impossible journey.”
Did you know?
Childhood blood cancer
Blood cancer (specifically leukaemia and lymphoma) remains the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer (aged 0-14 years) in Australia.
With blood cancer treatment often lasting months and even years, Leukaemia Foundation Village accommodation gives families peace of mind and one less thing to worry about
What does a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator do?
Your generosity helps power a team of highly trained and specialised support coordinators. Across the country, they’re online and on the phone, supporting families facing blood cancer through every stage of their experience.
In the last 12 months:
- Caring Blood Cancer Support Coordinators have connected 22,022 times with Australians navigating blood cancer
- 733 families facing blood cancer have called Leukaemia Foundation accommodation home